Journal of Surgery and Operative Care

Editorial Board Member - JSOC


Department of Surgery
Research Institute Against Digestive Cancer

Dr. Jacques Marescaux was born on August 4, 1948, as the eldest in a family of academics and servicemen. His father was a histology Professor at Strasbourg’s school of medicine and his grandfather was a major-general.

In 1971, he came first at the Residency program’s examinations, which allowed him to choose his training ship. The different semesters of the residency allowed him to discover the joys of gynecology, the strictness of orthopedic surgery, the subtleties of cardiovascular surgery and the diversity of visceral surgery, a field that he would finally choose.

It quickly became obvious to him that surgery could not be isolated either from its scientific context or from its applied clinical research. This is why he quickly joined an INSERM (French Health and Medical Research National Institute) team dedicated to digestive pathologies.

This scientific cooperation allowed him to be promoted as chief resident in 1975, University Professor for Digestive Surgery in 1980, and then head of department in 1989.In 1992, he came up with the idea of creating an original center for research and training in partnership with leaders of the surgical industry. This would allow him to:

- Develop research using different criteria for excellence from national institutes, as these uniformly implement rules adapted to the main disciplines, but miles away from real clinical issues

- Start the future technological revolutions in the field of surgery, and not to fall behind them

- Integrate new means of telecommunication, as this has become a great challenge on a cultural, political and global scale. He is convinced that surgeons should not only participate to this new information era, but mostly be its best ambassador.

These ideas came to life with the inauguration of the IRCAD (Research Institute Against Digestive Cancer) and the EITS (European Institute of Telesurgery) in June 1994. In this center, researchers, IT technicians, robot engineers and internationally renowned surgical experts would congregate.

Virtual reality is one of the Institute’s most important axes. It translates real data into digital data, thus allowing to turn a medical scan into a virtual 3D clone of the patient. The surgeon can then prepare the procedure on the patient’s virtual clone, as these simulations are becoming increasingly realistic. During the intervention, the superimposition of virtual data on real data (Augmented Reality) permits a transparent view that should soon allow for the automation of complex surgical movements. This automation will only be possible by developing the field of surgical robotics, another domain in which

The main objective of the IRCAD is to develop less invasive surgery. Therefore, a new concept was started in 2004 with the project ANUBIS. It is called “transluminal surgery through natural orifices”, a technique which leaves no cutaneous or muscular scars. This project, certified by the competitiveness pole for therapeutic innovations, allowed for the development of new surgical instruments and authorized the IRCAD team to perform the first surgical intervention through natural orifices on April 2, 2007 (Archives of Surgery 2007;142:823-826).

In 2000, the IRCAD-EITS implemented a Virtual online University, WeBSurg, resulting from the need to maintain the link between the training center and the surgeons. This website features contents elaborated exclusively by healthcare professionals. These contents are peer-reviewed and accredited by the most prestigious International Scientific Societies. WeBSurg encapsulates high-quality technology with high-speed multimedia communication systems to broadcast pre-recorded surgical interventions, the respect for cultural and linguistic diversity - the website is available in 6 different languages: French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese -, and charge-free access, which is of great importance, especially in developing countries.

WeBSurg is the true implementation of the future’s Virtual University in the field of minimal access surgery. It is particularly well-suited to surgical education, as it allows international surgeons, whatever the specialty, to share their expertise and know-how among themselves.

At present, WeBSurg has 300,000 active members regularly logging on to the website.

Given the tremendous success of IRCAD’s program, Jacques Marescaux also created a branch of the IRCAD in Taiwan (under the name of Asia IRCAD-AITS). This center was inaugurated on May 26, 2008. A new mirror institute has opened in Barretos, Sao Paulo’s state, Brazil, in July 2011.

Professor Marescaux’s teaching hospital experience and background, as well as the genuine and beneficial links he had set with the Industry, made it possible for him to be appointed President of the Alsace Region’s International Therapeutic Innovation Pole from 2005 to 2007.

The spur he brought consisted in counter-balancing the idea of health expenditure control by prioritizing research and innovation. Instead of considering the escalation of health expenditures as a preoccupying ongoing process, he believed it had to be identified as an opportunity for development, competition and innovation, hence creating new jobs and encouraging economic growth.

Such an evolution requires cultural change, which leads to the creation of bioclusters developing diverse methods committed to the future of the field, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, imaging studies, robotics and computer-aided systems, as the only way of bridging the large technological gap between Europe and the United States of America, Japan, and soon, China.

In the same spirit, Professor Marescaux has initiated a Biocluster project within the IRCAD’s compounds. It hosts, since January 2014, a score of 20 start-up companies in the area of medical devices (National Stud Farm Project).

Concomitantly, Professor Marescaux came up with a new concept: the University Hospital Institute. The objective is to create an Institute for Image-Guided Minimally Invasive Surgery aimed at developing a new surgical discipline combining the skills and know-how of laparoscopic surgeons, gastroenterologists and interventional radiologists. This project, which tied first place in the "Investissement d'Avenir" ranking put together by an International Jury in April 2011, represents a 227.3 million Euro budget, financed by the French Grand Loan.

By 2015, a new 10,000 sq m building located between the IRCAD and the Nouvel Hôpital Civil will accommodate a unique and new kind of platform for patients: 7 hybrid surgical units dedicated to digestive surgery which will incorporate medical imaging (MRI/CT-scan) to a surgical environment.

Jacques Marescaux was invited to deliver more than 380 speeches in many European, American, Japanese, and Chinese Universities or Schools of Medicine, amongst which the "Address to Diplomates" he gave at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, the Nobel Lecture he gave in Stockholm, and the Fogarty Lecture he gave at Stanford University. He also presented a conference entitled “The Anatomic Lesson” at the Amsterdam Medical Center as well as the Antoni de Gimbernat Lecture “New technologies in minimally invasive surgery” at the “XIX Jornades de Cirurgia Als Hospitals de Catalunya” in Barcelona.

Other Editorial Board Members - JSOC

Nicola Balato

Associate Professor
Department of Dermatology
School of Medicine
University of Naples Federico II

Peter Schemmer

Department of General -, Visceral- and Transplant Surgery
University Hospital of Heidelberg

Luis Ulloa

Associate Professor
Department of Surgery
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
United States


Associate Professor
Department of Surgery
State University of New York at Buffalo
United States

J. Philip Boudreaux

Department of Surgery
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
United States

Jimmy SO

Associate Professor
Department of Surgery
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
National University Health System

William H. Marx

Department of Surgery
SUNY Upstate Medical University
United States

Liang-Shun Wang

Graduate Institute of clinical medicine
Taipei Medical University

Giuseppe Murdaca

Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Genova

Akira Sasaki

Associate Professor
Department of Surgery
Iwate Medical University School of Medicine
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