Posted: June 2017
By Keightley Amen, BA, ELS
In 2015, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) established an annual award to recognize Heine H. Hansen’s lifetime of international contributions to lung cancer research and education.
This year, the HHH Award was bestowed upon an individual who met Hansen on multiple occasions and subsequently advanced Hansen’s goals to enhance thoracic oncology research and bolster international collaboration in the lung cancer community.
Rafal Dziadziuszko accepted the honor and delivered a keynote address to an international audience of thoracic oncology specialists gathered at the European Lung Cancer Conference 2017, held May 5–8 in Geneva, Switzerland. He spoke poignantly about the influence Hansen and the IASLC had on his career.
“I met Heine Hansen on several occasions early in my career when he participated in events in Poland and Central-Eastern Europe to motivate us to join pan-European collaborations. This was before the Iron Curtain came down, when access to international research projects was limited,” Dziadziuszko said. “He believed that our region needed to be fully integrated into European lung cancer research and motivated young oncologists to broaden their research capabilities. I feel I am one of his followers to realize this task.”
Dziadziuszko serves as deputy head and national consultant in radiation oncology in the Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy at Medical University of Gdansk, Poland, as well as professor at the Medical University of Gdansk.
Like Hansen (1938–2011)–who was a former president of ESMO, a founder of IASLC, and a mentor to many in the field–Dziadziuszko has an impressive record of service and leadership.
• Co-author of more than 120 peerreviewed publications and book chapters about lung cancer translational and clinical research
• Organization of academic clinical research studies in Central Europe
• Mentor of six past and ongoing PhD students
• Membership, committee service, and leadership in ESMO, IASLC, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, and Central and East European Oncology Group
• Chair of the non-small cell lung cancer (metastatic) track for the upcoming ESMO 2017 Congress, slated for September in Madrid, Spain
“Dziadziuszko is a global leader with extensive international collaborations and a true follower of the ideas of Heine Hansen,” said Fred R. Hirsch, chief executive officer of IASLC. “He is a brilliant researcher, a real clinical doctor who cares for his patients, and with a personality, which makes him very much liked and respected all over the world.”
Dziadziuszko said he is thankful for his multidisciplinary team, as well as the impact the award will have in his current work, which aims to identify novel molecular targets for lung cancer, evaluate novel radiotherapy strategies in thoracic malignancies, and improve lung cancer screening.
“Together we have created a team focused on improvement of patientcentered practice with strong emphasis on translational and clinical research,” he said. “The award motivates us to be more active and to further improve our performance.”