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"Reaching for the Stars" with Prof. Jacek Jassem


Prof. Jacek Jassem, photo by Paweł Sudara/MUG
Prof. Jacek Jassem, photo by Paweł Sudara/MUG

A series of open meetings online entitled Reaching for the Stars was inaugurated by lecture entitled My vision of oncology delivered on January 9, 2023 by Prof. Jacek Jassem from the Department of Oncology & Radiotherapy of the MUG. Thanks to the initiative of the Vice-Rector for the Quality of Teaching Dr. Habil. Agnieszka Zimmermann, Assoc. Prof. and Vice-Rector for Student Affairs Dr. Habil. Tomasz Smiatacz, students of the MUG have the opportunity to listen to the speeches of the leading scientists of our University regarding their research work. The series of lectures, aiming to improve the quality of education, is addressed to students of all fields of study, thanks to which students of various Faculties have the opportunity to learn about the area of research interests of MUG’s scientists.

The meeting was opened by Prof. Agnieszka Zimmermann, who welcomed the participants and explained the purpose of organizing the series of lectures. Then the speech was taken by Dr. Habil. Tomasz Smiatacz, presenting the achievements of Prof. Jacek Jassem, such as authorship and co-authorship of over 1,600 publications, which have reached a total of over 39,000 citations to date, the Impact Factor of over 2,500, and the Hirsch index of 74.


Professor Jassem began his lecture by presenting the most common causes of death, of which cancer ranks second in the world. He also gave the example of Poland, where 25% of deaths are caused by these diseases and pointed out statistics according to which the number of people who have survived cancer is still increasing.

My priorities in oncology are prevention and early detection of cancer, less invasive and personalized treatment and the possibility of curing metastatic cancer. I am a clinician, I have two specializations – radiation oncology and clinical oncology – but an important part of my activity is also cancer prevention – said Prof. Jacek Jassem.

The lecture discussed diseases such as lung cancer, cervical cancer and breast cancer. Professor also raised the issue of new therapies for cancer treatment, such as using access through the natural orifices of the body. He also presented robotic surgery, in which a multifunctional device can replace a doctor, e.g. in maneuvering tools or performing several movements at the same time, overcoming the natural limitations of human hands.

If you can control the robot sitting a meter from the patient, why not do it a kilometer or a thousand kilometers from him? – asked rhetorically Prof. Jassem, discussing telesurgery and the possibilities of using robots in various types of procedures

The next part of the presentation concerned radiotherapy and cases of patients treated with its use. There were presented innovative methods, such as FLASH, allowing to destroy the tumor while minimizing damage to healthy cells by delivering a very high dose of radiation per second instead of the standard 10-minute patient’s exposure to small doses. Prof. Jacek Jassem also introduced various types of drugs supporting cancer therapy, and discussed the assumptions and prospects for the development and use of personalized therapy. He also pointed out the most important events and discoveries that are the basis of today’s scientific knowledge in the field of oncology, such as understanding the structure of DNA or sequencing the human genome.


The summary of the speech was a look into the future and a discussion of therapeutic methods, which are currently in the research phase. Professor pointed out the pharmacological treatment of metastatic cancer or therapies using artificial intelligence. The last part of the meeting was a traditional discussion during which Prof. Jacek Jassem answered the participants’ questions.

Many previously incurable diseases can now be cured in almost 100%. I hope that in the future we will be able to say the same about diseases for which today there is no effective treatment – said Prof. Jacek Jassem at the end of the lecture.

The organizers of the Reaching for the Stars series have planned a number of open meetings with the best scientists of the MUG, which will take place in the coming months. The inaugural lecture by Prof. Jacek Jassem is available as a video file in the Extranet.