October 26, 2020. At the beginning of next year, the digestive disease prevention study GISTAR will start operating at Kuldiga Regional Hospital.

In anticipation of this event, Skrunda Television has created a story about the research as such, as well as about the opening of the new research center.

In the story, the scientific leader of the research, Marcis Leja, says that by participating in the GISTAR study, not a single participant has saved a life by discovering a malignant disease in a timely manner.
Professor Leja notes that every year gastric cancer is detected in 600 people in Latvia, while intestinal cancer - in 1,100. However, unfortunately, most of the diagnosis is very late. Therefore, citizens are encouraged to take the opportunity and the GISTAR research center to check their health in a timely manner.

The support of local governments is also very important in the implementation of the research. And now funds have been found for the establishment of a research center in Kuldiga Hospital.
Agris Rozenfelds, Chairman of the Board of Kuldīga Hospital, says that the hospital will provide premises for the implementation of the project, as well as local specialists are currently actively sought for the implementation of the project.

So far, the study has been conducted in Cēsis, Alūksne, Ludza, Dobele, Saldus, Tukums, Madona, Rēzekne and Jēkabpils, and almost 10,000 respondents are already involved in the study.

Currently, the research in Kuldiga is planned for 1.5 years until the middle of 2022, but in case of higher activity of the population, the possibility to continue its implementation for a longer period of time will be evaluated.

The TV broadcast can be viewed HERE.

October 5, 2020. In Certified NPO Japan Gastric Cancer Prediction, Diagnosis, and Treatment Research Organization latest journal  “Gastric Cancer Screening Using a Test of Risk Stratification (ABC Screening) ~ For Prediction, Prevention, Diagnosis, and Therapy for Gastric Cancer ~" is published an overwiev article on GISTAR study - "Report of a gastric cancer prevention RCT study by predicting atrophic gastritis; GISTAR study conducted by WHO".

The book contains English Summary and References at the end of each article, wich shows latest results and useful knowledge on the new Japanesegastric cancer screening method, using combined assay for serum anti-H-pylori IgG antibody and serum pepsinogen levels, and written by wide variety of Japanese authors of top experts in the gastric cancer study field.

The summary of the article can be found HERE.

- Month and year of publication:  December 2019
- Publisher:  Nanzando Co., Ltd.
- Publication place:  Tokyo

September 2, 2020. GISTAR research center in Jēkabpils actively continues its activities and for today already 1 232 respondents are included in the research in this center.
We are proud to announce that a total of 9 548 respondents are already included in the GISTAR study. The research was started in October 2013 in Cēsis, and so far it has also taken place in such Latvian cities as Alūksne, Ludza, Saldus, Tukums, Dobele, Madona and Rēzekne.
There is a positive trend - the number of respondents included in each subsequent research center is increasing. 
Discussions are also underway with the management of Kuldīga Hospital about the possibility of organizing the operation of the next GISTAR research center in Kuldīga.  

July 24, 2020. GISTAR research leaders Aiga Rūdule with colleagues visit Kuldīga Hospital and meet with its management to discuss possibilities to organize the next research center in Kuldīga.

July 2, 2020. We invite to get acquainted with the latest information about the GISTAR study written in Jēkabpils media and shown on TV.
Article in the information portal "Jēkabpils Laiks" - available HERE.
The television story of Vidusdaugava's TV is available HERE.

June 9, 2020. We are proud that among the projects financed in the 1st competition of the Fundamental and Applied Research Projects of the Latvian Council of Science in 2018 in the field of Medical and Health Sciences, also is the project GISTAR implemented by LU KPMI!

More information - HERE

February 29, 2020. In Moscow, Russia, February 27 - 28 the 46th SCIENTIFIC SESSION: "GENETICS IN GASTROENTEROLOGY: POSSIBILITIES AND PERSPECTIVES", organized by the Central Institute for Research on Gastroenterology (ЦНИИГ) took place.

LU KPMI Director M. Leja gave two lectures at the conference on topics of prevention of inherited gastrointestinal tumors and gastric cancer.

In a lecture on stomach cancer, M.Leja talked about GISTAR study in Latvia.

Further possibilities for cooperation with leading Russian gastroenterology experts were discussed, incl. opportunities to submit joint projects.

February 7, 2020. On February 6, a scientific-practical conference on the different aspects of gastric cancer "Stomach Cancer - A to Z" was held at Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University. The conference was attended by leading oncologists and management from St. Petersburg University, and practitioners from hospitals and outpatient clinics in the region.

The keynote presentation of the conference on the epidemiology and screening capabilities of gastric cancer was given by GISTAR project scientific leader, professor M.Leja. 

In his lecture, he focused on the GISTAR project implemented by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

In the picture: M.Leja with the main organizer of the conference, oncology surgeon, Professor Alexander Zakarenko

January 13, 2020. We are pleased to announce that the total number of respondents included in the GISTAR study has reached 9,000!

In its turn, Jekabpils Regional Center has already included 689 respondents.

It is planned to continue the research in Jekabpils till the end of this year.

January 10, 2020. January 6-8, 2020, Shenzhen, China.  The 1st Symposium on Million Microbiome of Human Project (MMHP) took place in the China National GeneBank. This is an ambitious and unique project aiming to draw human microbial maps of different races, ages, genders and health conditions based on at least 1 mil. metagenome analysis.
Involvement of research institutions from all over the world is anticipated. It has been planned that samples from Latvian inhabitants that have either already been donated for the GISTAR project realization or will be collected in the future within this study, will be an important part for MMHP and will allow either to characterize the human microbiome population in Latvia or to stimulate research in this field in the country.
The Director of the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre Jānis Kloviņš and the Director of Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine Mārcis Leja were representing our country in the conference.  
MMHP is supported by the internationally leading experts in molecular biology – the BGI Company. Their daughter company MGI is also established in Latvia.

December 17, 2019. On December 16 this year a meeting of the University of Latvia Faculty of Medicine took place. During the meeting, the Rector's gratitudes were also presented.

Acknowledgments of significant contributions were received by staff involved in the GISTAR study:

Aiga Rudule, Senior Expert, Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine, on successful administrative management of the GISTAR study;

Arnis Kirshners, Senior Researcher, Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine, Dr.sc.ing., For his significant contribution to the development of the KPMI Biobank IT Platform;

Inese Poļaka, Senior Researcher, Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine, ERDF Postdoctoral Fellow, for her significant support in the design of student research work and data analysis, for her outstanding performance as a leading statistician in the GISTAR study.

In the picture: Aiga Rudule, Administrative Manager of the GISTAR study, with a letter of gratitude

December 3, 2019. We are proud to announce that the total number of respondents included in the GISTAR Jekabpils Regional Research Center has reached 500 respondents. The total number of respondents included in the survey has reached already 8 880!

Correspondent of the newspaper "Brīvā Daugava" Inese Zone invited Olga Kirejeva, the 500th respondent, to talk about the opportunities provided by the survey.

The GISTAR study in Latvia has been going on for six years. Jekabpils Regional Research Center, in its turn, has been operating since September 2019. The realization of the study in Jekabpils is currently planned until the end of 2020. In parallel, the feasibility of the study in other Latvian cities is being discussed.

Read the article and interview HERE.

In the picture: Doctor's assistant Sendija Vītola (from left) and 500th respondent Olga Kirejeva

November 28, 2019. On November 25 - 26, "International Conference on Genomics & Pharmacogenomics" and "International Conference on Human Genetics and Genetic Disorders" took place in Madrid, Spain. 

Dārta Pūpola, scientific assistant at the LU KPMI presented the main results of the ERDF project "Long term effects of H.pylori eradication on Gastro intestinal tract microbiome and development of screening system for detection of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase coding genes within feces samples".

Results were obtained by analyzing samples from respondents included in the GISTAR study. 

D.Pūpola received an award for her report as the best stand presentation at the conference.

The project “Long term effects of H.pylori eradication on Gastro intestinal tract microbiome and development of screening system for detection of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase coding genes within feces samples” has received funding from ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) program under the grant agreement no.

November 19, 2019. At the traditional 21st European Bridging Meeting in Gastroenterology '2019 the results of GISTAR study were presented.

European Association for Gastroenterology, Endoscopy and Nutrition (EAGEN) on November 15-16 in Warsaw, Poland held The European Bridging Meeting in Gastroenterology 2019 to enable young researchers to present their work in the presence of their scientific supervisors. Each participant was accompanied by a mentor who, after the presentation, led a discussion on different aspects of the work. During the scientific meeting 42 young researchers presented their work. After the conference, the Scientific Commission awarded 5 top-rated presentations.

From Latvia conference was attended by Danute Ražuka-Ebela (resident in gastroenterology, PhD candidate of the University of Latvia) with her supervisor prof. Mārcis Leja. Danute received the award for Best Presentation for her report "Analysis of factors associated with decreased pepsinogen in the GISTAR study population in Latvia".

The initiative started in 1998 by Prof. Dr. Peter Malfertheiner in Magdeburg, Germany. His vision and aim when he designed the Bridging Meeting concept was to create a forum for young clinical investigators from Eastern and Western European countries, where results of their ongoing and completed research is presented. To allow for young Fellows, academic teachers & mentors and industry partners to meet, network, build bridges and build a path into the Future of Gastroenterology.

In the picture from left: Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Conference Prof. Jaroslaw Regula and Prof. Peter Malfertheiner, Danute Ražuka-Ebela, Prof. Mārcis Leja

November 1, 2019. The 14th International Scientific-Practical Conference “Astana-Gastro-2019” is taking place in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan).
A presentation “Gastric Cancer Screening. GISTAR study ”at the conference was presented by M. Leja.

The presentation also showcased the results of the work done by the researchers of the LU KPMI, which was obtained by analyzing the material obtained in Kazakhstan.

October 21, 2019. At the United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, LU KPMI Director M. Leja presented an overview of the world population-based studies for the prevention of gastric cancer. One of the most important researches of such type in the world and the only one in Europe is the GISTAR study carried out in Latvia by the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia.

October 3, 2019. Today one of the most important events of the GISTAR study this year tooks place at the Academic centre of the University of Latvia - European experts (gastroenterologists, pathologists, epidemiologists, basic science representatives) who agreed to participate in the GISTAR Study Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) gathered in Riga to critically look at the results of the study, their compliance with the requirements of a wide range of world-class epidemiological studies.

Researchers of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia working together with many international organizations, incl. Healthy Stomach Initiative and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has made it possible to carry out a study on the prevention of digestive diseases GISTAR, with support of the Latvian Ministry of Health. So far the study has been carried out in Cesis, Aluksne, Ludza, Dobele, Saldus, Tukums, Madona and Rezekne, from September this year the project is launched in Jekabpils.

September 27, 2019. The GISTAR study regional centre was officially opened today at Jekabpils Regional Clinic, Stadiona Street 1.
In cooperation with Jekabpils Regional Hospital, the GISTAR Research Center of the University of Latvia started its work in Jekabpils on 2 September this year.

The regional center has successfully completed its first month of work, with over 130 respondents. In total, more than 8,450 respondents were included in the study already.

Members of the board of Jekabpils Regional Hospital - Margarita Melnikova, Renars Putnins, GISTAR research leader Marcis Leja, GISTAR research staff, and Jekabpils City Council deputy chairwoman Kristine Ozola participated in the opening.

September 11, 2019. The 11th International ICAPS conference: Cancer Prevention by Targeting Infection, Inflammation and the Immune System was was taking place in London, UK, on September 9-10.
Scientific leader of GISTAR project M.Leja was participating with an inivited lecture entitled “H. pylori Eradication for Gastric Cancer Prevention”.
The design of the GISTAR project and preliminary results were demonstrated during the presentation.
Conference is organized by The International Cancer Prevention Society (ICAPS) and the UK Therapeutic Cancer Prevention Network (UKTCPN).

September 9, 2019. At the European Helicobacter and Microbiota Study Group XXXIIst International Workshop, which took place in Innsbruck, Austria, from 5 to 7 September, scientists from the LU KPMI participated both with poster and oral presentations.

The results of the largest study of LU KPMI - GISTAR and other researches carried out by the institute were reported in the form of stand and oral reports.

Oral presentation on the topic "Decreased pepsinogen level in relation to the presence of menopause in the GISTAR study population in Latvia" was given by J. Aleksejeva. The results of the GISTAR study were also used in the stand  report by J. Aleksejeva's "Association between reduced levels of pepsinogen and different dietary factors and Helicobacter pylori seropositivity".
Olga Sjomina presented the GISTAR data in an oral report entitled "The comparison of effectiveness of standard triple therapy and high-dose amoxicillin / bismuth therapy in eradication of H. pylori".
In total our team of researchers presented 5 poster and 2 oral presentations.



September 2, 2019. In cooperation with Jekabpils Regional Hospital, the GISTAR Regional center in Jekabpils has started its work. On its first working day the center was visited by the first three respondents. In total, 8 319 respondents have already been included in the study.

August 22, 2019. Training for the future staff of the regional GISTAR centre in Jekabpils is ongoing. During the training courses, the new employees are learning the practical skills necessary for the study, as well as how the participants are included in the study. The work is carried out in pairs, the future employees are undergoing tuition, such as questioning, the input of data into the DVS system, standards of taking blood tests and blood sampling, as well as the carrying out, preparation and storage of saliva tests, and the procedures for performing breath tests. Specific diet questions are also studied.

August 19, 2019. Today at the Academic Centre of the University of Latvia the future employees of the regional GISTAR centre in Jekabpils are undergoing tuition. Scientific leader of the GISTAR professor Mārcis Leja introduces new employees with the relevance of gastrointestinal cancer in Latvia and globally, as well as reports the significance and essential details of the GISTAR study. During the training, the new team is introduced to the research protocol, questionnaire, specifics of interviewing, as well as the GISTAR data management system.


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