Dr. David Jablons

Dr. David Jablons is an accomplished thoracic oncologist who is renowned for his lung cancer expertise and ability to treat thoracic conditions including pleural mesothelioma.

“We are at a crossroad right now where we have some of the technology and knowledge base to make a huge difference in lung cancer.” -Dr. David Jablons

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Dr. Jablons has done significant work on the Wnt signal transduction pathways, to help treat mesothelioma patients by developing a stronger understanding of how cancer genes work and can be eliminated. Wnt pathways transmit signals between cells and play a role in the initial creation of cancer. By better understanding Wnt and other signal transduction pathways, doctors like Dr. Jablons can look for ways to stop or reprogram the signals, preventing and reversing cancer cell growth.

“Lung cancer is the cancer where people are most excited about right now, because we have actually demonstrated, beyond any other cancer, that we can identify genes, we can drug those genes, and we can make cancers regress, sometimes for many, many, many months if not for years, and extend not only the chance for cure but make a huge difference for patients both in advanced stage and in early stage.” -Dr. David Jablons

Dr. Jablons speaks English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian.

Dr. Jablons’ Location

Mesothelioma patients interested in visiting Dr. Jablons can contact him at:

UCSF Medical Center

1600 Divisadero St., 4th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94143

(415) 885-3882

Dr. Jablons’ Career Highlights

As an accomplished thoracic oncologist, Dr. Jablons has had many career highlights including the following, which make him a competent and caring mesothelioma specialist:

  • Extensive research into the genetic treatment of mesothelioma and lung cancer
  • Awarded an NIH grant to research the role of Wnt signaling in mesothelioma
  • Former U.S. Navy Commander and Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Naval Hospital
  • Co-founded the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Conference, which brings together top surgical oncologists from all over the world
  • Mentored by renowned mesothelioma expert, the late Dr. David Sugarbaker
  • Helped develop one of the world’s largest tissue banks, used to research mesothelioma and other cancers

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Dr. Jablons’ Background

Dr. David Jablons began his secondary education at Yale University, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in American Literature. He then earned his MD at Albany Medical School at Union University, during which time he received a NCI preceptorship that gave him the opportunity to work with Dr. Steven Rosenberg, an expert in tumor immunology and surgical oncology. This experience launched Dr. Jablons’ career, which he has devoted to understanding lung cancer genomics and translational biology.

Dr. Jablons completed his general surgery residency at Tufts University/New England Medical Center, followed by a cardiothoracic surgery residency at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center (then known as Weill Cornell University Medical Center).

Dr. Jablons mentored under the late Dr. David Sugarbaker at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he learned about mesothelioma first-hand. Since then, Dr. Jablons and the late Dr. Sugarbaker completed a handful of mesothelioma publications together, with a focus on the genomics that Dr. Jablons has become known for.

Dr. Jablons actively served in the U.S. Navy, as both a Commander and Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. It was there that he met his wife, Dr. Tamara Jo Hicks, a psychotherapist and co-founder of Potrero Hill Psychotherapy.

Dr. Jablons was then recruited by the University of California San Francisco to create and lead their thoracic oncology team.

During his current role, Dr. Jablons has helped further the world’s research and understanding of mesothelioma. He helped create one of the world’s largest tissue banks, preserving tumors removed from the hospital’s patients and using them in biological cancer research. This has allowed Dr. Jablons and other researchers to access more specimens and conduct groundbreaking discoveries towards the improved treatment and cure of mesothelioma patients.

Medical Specializations

Dr. Jablons is a certified thoracic surgeon with expertise in genetic therapy, molecular pathways, and stem cell research. He oversees UCSF’s tissue lab, which is one of the largest in the world.

“The Thoracic Oncology lab has several areas of focus including molecular therapeutics, molecular diagnostics, systems biology, systems genetics, and bench-to-bedside drug discovery. The Thoracic Oncology Lab houses one of the largest thoracic tissue bank repositories in the US, with specimens for more than 1,300 patients including fresh/frozen matched tissue (tumor, normal, serum, pbmc) for lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers.” -Dr. David Jablons

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Dr. Jablons’ Career Accomplishments

Dr. Jablons is an accomplished oncologist, contributing significantly to the medical community’s molecular and genetic understanding of mesothelioma. His gene therapies are a monumental step towards eradicating mesothelioma, and he developed and directs a leading thoracic program that continues to research new treatment options for various forms of cancers, with hopes of finding a cure for lung cancer.

Dr. Jablons is also a champion for cancer education and research. He co-founded the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Conference, which annually unites top surgical oncologists from around the world.

Awards & Honours

  • America’s Top Doctors
  • America’s Top Doctors for Cancer
  • Surgical Resident Teaching Award – University of California
  • ACS Fellow
  • TopDoc

Dr. Jablons’ Current Work

Dr. Jablons currently leads the Thoracic Oncology Program of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he works directly with cancer patients to develop treatment plans. He is also chief of General Thoracic Surgery at UCSF Medical Center and directs the university’s Thoracic Oncology Laboratory. It’s here that he continues to research genomics and molecular biology, including the Wnt signal transduction pathways that contribute to the creation of mesothelioma.

“The Thoracic Oncology lab utilizes state-of-the-art technology such as next-generation sequencing (NGS), synthetic chemistry, and 3D-computer simulation for assessing drug efficacy. The TOP currently offers patients a broad menu of clinical trials, testing the most promising molecularly targeted agents.” -Dr. David Jablons

He is currently a member of numerous professional organizations, including:

  • International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC)
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American College of Chest Physicians
  • Society of Thoracic Surgeons

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Notable Work by Dr. Jablons

Dr. Jablons co-authored and published a paper entitled, “Wnt inhibitory factor-1, a Wnt antagonist, is silenced by promoter hypermethylation in malignant pleural mesothelioma.”

Originally published in Volume 342, Issue 4 or Biochemical and BioPhysical Research Communications, this publication helped further the scientific community’s understanding of how signaling pathways in cells can be modified to help prevent or eliminate cancers.

Wnt signaling is linked to the growth of mesothelioma, and this study used tissue samples to evaluate the impact of WIF-1, a protein, in stopping those signals. Eight of the nine samples tested demonstrated these positive results.

The research ultimately concluded that inhibiting the Wnt pathways using WIF-1 protein be a promising therapy for treating malignant mesothelioma.

Dr. Jablons’ Healing Philosophy

Dr. David Jablons has been an integral part of the cancer research team at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. This center believes in translational research, which combines multiple disciplines of cancer research to further treatment options and eventually find a cure for all cancers.

Dr. Jablons also contributes to the mission and values of the UCSF Medical Center. Their vision “is to be the best provider of healthcare services, the best place to work and the best environment for teaching and research,” which is reflected in their mission of “Caring, Healing, Teaching, and Discovering.”

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