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Dr. David Sugarbaker Shares Mesothelioma Treatment Strategies with Doctors and Lawyers

Dr. David Sugarbaker, the founder and director of the International Mesothelioma Program (IMP), exudes confidence and optimism as he talks about his state-of-the-art treatment for mesothelioma patients.  His attitude and his team’s groundbreaking work in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma have changed the outlook and lives of many patients.  Last year Dr. Sugarbaker and his team at the IMP operated on more than 160 patients, yet Dr. Sugarbaker still takes the time to share his surgical techniques with both lawyers and doctors.

Sharing With Lawyers

Last November Dr Sugarbaker was in Miami at the “Asbestos Medicine” conference sponsored by the Defense Research Institute sharing his enthusiasm and latest surgical techniques with over 1200 lawyers.  Dr. Sugarbaker is the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and the Director of the IMP.  At this asbestos medicine seminar, he talked about the history of the IMP with attorneys from Galiher DeRobertis Waxman, which has represented hundreds of mesothelioma families for over 30 years.

According to Dr. Sugarbaker, the project began in 2002 to deal with the ever increasing number of mesothelioma cases occurring worldwide.  It is designed to function at three levels.  First and foremost, the IMP provides patient care and treatment.  Hand in hand with that comes support for patients and their families.  Last but far from least, the IMP focuses on mesothelioma research that will ultimately lead to a cure for this devastating disease.

Although there presently is no cure for mesothelioma, the vision of the IMP is to provide state-of-the-art treatments that extend the lives of mesothelioma patients.  As Dr. Sugarbaker told our attorneys, “The purpose of the IMP can be summed up in seven words: ‘Quality life extension leading to a cure.’”

During his presentation, Dr Sugarbaker used graphic slides to illustrate his cutting edge surgical techniques designed to extend the quality of the patient’s life.  Since 1988 when Dr. Sugarbaker established a Thoracic Division at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, the surgical treatment options for mesothelioma have improved and expanded.  Today Dr. Sugarbaker’s multimodality approach offers patient’s a better chance for prolonged survival.  Dr. Sugarbaker’s technique includes surgery in which he removes either the diseased pleura or the lung and the pleural.  After the surgery, Dr. Sugarbaker injects heated chemotherapy solutions directly in to the chest.  Research has shown that this increases the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs.  This solution kills the residual tumor at the surgical margins and any malignant cells that may have been shed during the surgery.  For many patients, this surgical procedure has lead to a longer life.

Presentation for Doctors at International Conference

Dr. Sugarbaker is also spreading his word internationally.  He will be making a presentation in Kyoto, Japan in August about the surgical techniques at a conference sponsored by the Intentional Mesothelioma Interest Group.  This presentation will include a description of an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) operation that is followed by intra-operative heated chemotherapy.

Dr. Sugarbaker will explain how he has assembled at the International Mesothelioma Program as impressive team of health professionals, including surgeons, oncologists, epidemiologists, pathologists, statisticians, and clinicians, all focused on finding the best treatments and ultimately a cure for mesothelioma.

Spreading the Word Even Further

After hearing about Dr. Sugarbaker’s groundbreaking surgical techniques, Attorney Ilana Waxman, managing partner of Galiher DeRobertis Waxman, is anxious to spread the word about the treatment options offered by Dr. Sugarbaker to his clients who suffer from mesothelioma and the doctors who treat them.  In Waxman’s words, “Dr. Sugarbaker offers a degree of optimism to the families who face the devastating effects of this disease.  I wish these treatment options had been available to all of the mesothelioma patients we have represented over the past 30 years.”

Dr. Sugarbaker’s dedication to his work is obvious and his optimism is infectious. It was all reflected in his parting words, “One thing I can guarantee any patient who sees me is hope.”