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David M. Jablons, M.D.

A leading expert in mesothelioma and other types of cancer, Dr. David Jablons is devoted to improving the lives of patients through treatment and research. Dr. Jablons studied under distinguished mentors, such as Dr. Sugarbaker of Sloan Kettering Memorial, one of the leading experts in mesothelioma cancer, which helped to trigger his interest in this rare and complicated disease.

Today Dr. Jablons is a leader, teacher, researcher, and surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco. He leads and conducts important research to improve mesothelioma treatment, works with and treats patients, and gets involved in educational outreach and philanthropy.


Dr. Jablons earned his undergraduate degree in American literature and then his medical degree from Albany Medical College of Union University in New York. He completed a general surgical internship at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California and a general surgical residency at Tufts University. He completed a surgical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute and a lung transplantation fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. His final fellowship was in cardiothoracic surgery at the Cornell University Medical Center. Working with Dr. Sugarbaker at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Jablons developed an interest in mesothelioma.

Early Career

Dr. Jablons’ first job after completing his education was at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital,where he was a U.S. Navy Commander and Chief of Thoracic Surgery. He worked there until 1995, when he moved to the University of California, San Francisco and became an assistant clinical professor of cardiothoracic surgery and then an associate professor.

Current Position

Dr. Jablons is now holds several positions at UCSF: He is the Professor and Chief of the Section of General Thoracic Surgery, the ADA Distinguished Professor in Thoracic Oncology, the Nan T. McEvoy Distinguished Professor of Thoracic Surgical Oncology, the Program Leader of Thoracic Oncology, and the Director of the Thoracic Oncology Lab.

With such a distinguished and varied lineup of professional positions, Dr. Jablons has his hands in many pots at the University of California. He is a practicing surgeon working with patients, a leader and teacher for medical students, interns, and residents, and the leader of seven principal investigators using National Institutes of Health grants to sequence one of the world’s largest thoracic tissue banks and to conduct a variety of research projects.


As a surgeon and specialist in mesothelioma, innovative treatments and procedures are crucial to the work that Dr. Jablons does with patients. Throughout his career he has conducted and led research programs and co-authored numerous published studies. Much of his research at the Thoracic Oncology Lab focuses on discovering target drugs, commercializing new therapies, and developing gene assays to help find biomarkers for detecting mesothelioma and other cancers.

Philanthropy and Outreach

Dr. Jablons is more than just a dedicated surgeon, teacher, and researcher. He is also a philanthropist. After performing a long and risky lung cancer surgery on a patient, Bonnie J. Addario, he started a foundation with her. The Addario Foundation now underwrites a significant amount of lung cancer research being done in the U.S.

Also interested in educational outreach, Dr. Jablons helped to co-found the University of California, San Francisco Thoracic Oncology Conference. This annual gathering helps to train community surgeons in more expert techniques so that they can better help their patients. His work has even stretched to China, where he helped found the China Clinical Trials Consortium, which researches lung cancer and to lessen the lung cancer epidemic in that country.

Professional Organizations and Honors

Dr. Jablons’ memberships in professional organizations include the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer. His awards have included being named one of America’s Top Doctors and membership in the American Surgical Society. He has also won the Surgical Resident Teaching Award twice.

HIs distinguished career and dedication to patients, education, and research have earned him the respect and admiration of colleagues and patients alike. If you are living with mesothelioma, working with Dr. Jablons and his team could be a great way to get some of the best treatment available in the U.S.

Page edited by Dave Foster

Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available. Connect with Patient Advocate Dave Foster

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