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Dr. David Sugarbaker is a world-renowned surgeon and innovator of the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), a life-saving surgery for patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

About Dr. David Sugarbaker

Dr. David Sugarbaker

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
6620 Main Street Houston, TX


Dr. David Sugarbaker is the chief of thoracic surgery at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas. He specializes in pleural mesothelioma surgery, and developed the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), one the most successful surgeries available for patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Before taking the helm at Baylor, Dr. Sugarbaker was the head of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s in Boston, where he founded the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP). Researchers working at both of these institutions have played an important role in advancing mesothelioma treatment from the “one size fits all” approach—when doctors didn’t know much about the disease—to treatment they tailor to each patient’s diagnosis.

Clinical Trials for Mesothelioma Research

Now at Baylor, Dr. Sugarbaker is heavily involved in clinical trials, where he and others work to make existing mesothelioma treatments better. He is currently testing a mix of surgery and molecular markers for future mesothelioma treatments.

“I see a large role for clinical and translational research, with an eye to getting new treatments to patients as soon as possible. Baylor is a leader in genomic research and that will play a key part, as well as the personalized treatment of a patient’s lung disease” – Dr. David Sugarbaker

To make treatments for mesothelioma better, and more individualized, Dr. Sugarbaker also focuses on improving how the disease is diagnosed. In a 2014 study, he and other researchers developed a gene expression ratio test, which successfully distinguished normal lung cells from cancer cells. Studies like this help doctors develop treatments that are more targeted to each patient’s diagnosis.


  • Medical Degree: Cornell University Medical College, 1979
  • Residency: Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, 1979 – 1985 Toronto General Hospital, 1986 – 1988


  • Former chief of thoracic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Founder of the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) in 2002
  • Developer of the successful pleural mesothelioma surgery, the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)

Research Interests

  • General chest surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Video-assisted chest surgery
  • Molecular markers of mesothelioma

Finding the Right Doctor

Finding a doctor who has experience treating mesothelioma can be difficult. It’s a rare disease that most haven’t had the opportunity to treat, or even see. That’s why getting treatment from an experienced specialist is so important—especially if you have a history of asbestos exposure.

Our Patient Help Team can review your diagnosis and find an experienced doctor, like Dr. Sugarbaker, who can give you the treatment you need to improve your prognosis. A member of our team can also connect you to top cancer centers and find financial aid to pay for your treatment. Speak with our Patient Help Team and get started on improving your prognosis.

You can get a free copy of our informational guide to learn more about mesothelioma at your own pace. Order a free copy today.