June 12th, 2018. On June 11th publishing house Taylor & Francis at Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology published an article made by the Research group of GISTAR about comparison of various tests for the detection of helicobacteria of stomach. The first author of the article is Sabine Skrebinska, a physician-resident. Voluminous work materials has been summarized, in which endoscopic stomach examinations were performed at the Digestive Diseases Centre GASTRO, but morphological investigations - in the Academic Histology Laboratory. Research data suggest that it is inadequate to use serological examinations (blood tests) as the only test for helicobacteria testing in daily practice.

A summary of the article can be found HERE.

June 7th, 2018. At the USA National Cancer Institute GISTAR research leader M. Leja gave an hour-long report about the ongoing researches on gastric cancer in Latvia, including information on the progress of the GISTAR study. After the meeting, several gatherings were held, including with the Co-ordinating Specialists on Global Activities for possible further expansion of cooperation. 

In the picture: M. Leja reports information about the GISTAR study to the experts of the National Cancer Institute

May 31th, 2018. Today, the regional research center of Madona has concluded its work. During the period from August 1st 2017 till May 31th 2018, 1276 respondents have been included in the GISTAR study in Madona. The research leader Marcis Leja thanked the workers of the Madona Research Center and the chairman of the board of Madona Hospital Artis Stuburs, for their work and support. In parallel, the GISTAR team is planning to expand research activities into other municipalities of Latvia, and already communication with local government representatives on the possibilities of research realization in other cities of Latvia is taking place.

May 24th, 2018. A seminar for family physicians is taking place in Rezekne, at "Zeimuļs" - Center for the Development of Eastern Latvia, during which GISTAR project manager professor Mārcis Leja gives a lecture "Ability to reduce stomach cancer mortality. International guidelines". M. Leja also introduces the participants of the seminar with the progress of the GISTAR study. During the seminar there are also discussions, during which family doctors have the opportunity to ask prof. M. Leja and research staff questions of interest.

May 16th, 2018. In order to acquaint representatives of local municipalities with the GISTAR study and discuss the possibilities of realization of the research in the municipalities of Latvia, the research leader Mārcis Leja and coordinator Aiga Rūdule participated in the annual general meeting of the Association of Regional Development Centers (RACA), which took place on May 15.


May 9th, 2018. Since October 2013, when the GISTAR study was launched in Cesis, to this moment, more than 7,400 respondents have been included in the project. The research has also been conducted in such cities of Latvia as Aluksne, Ludza, Saldus, Tukums and Dobele. There are currently two research centers active in Rezekne and Madona. There is a positive trend - the number of respondents included in each subsequent research center is increasing. For comparison, 761 respondents were included in the regional center of Cesis, in Ludza center - 1018, Saldus - 1077. In Rezekne cneter 1593 respondents are currently included, while in Madona - 1197.

April 13th, 2018. The initial results on the GISTAR pilot study results in Kazakhstan have been reported during the VIII International symposium on Helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

In the picture: M.Leja with the poster


April 4th, 2018. Visit to the GISTAR Rezekne Regional Research Center. The research coordinator Aiga Rūdule went to Rezekne together with colleague Eva Martinson to train staff of the Research Center on how to give eradication therapy to patients. For today all together 7,168 respondents are included in the GISTAR study. 

March 12th, 2018. For more than four years now, the GISTAR study has been conducted in Latvia. We are proud to announce that on this week the number of respondents included in the study have reached 7,000! There are currently two research centers active in Rezekne (since April 2017) and Madona (since August 2017). We are truly glad to announce that 1,000nd respondent was included today in the Madona Research Center. It was Madona resident Zintis Asmus. In Rezekne Regional Research Center already have included more than 1000 respondents.
The inclusion of respondents in the study continues.

In the pictures: Employees of the Madona Research Center with Zintis Asmus

February 23rd, 2018. Today the International Gastric Cancer Prevention Research Forum has successfully concluded with the International Scientific Conference on Medicine at the University of Latvia.

Yesterday, on February 22nd, one of the most important events in the forum took place - 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.
Yesterday morning, the leading researcher at the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine, physician-gastroenterologist Ilze Kikuste, visited "Morning Panorama", to tell how important the issue of gastric cancer is in Latvia, what is the contribution of domestic researchers in identifying the possibilities for preventing this disease.
An interview can be viewed here.
The forum was organized by the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine, and it was held all this week. At the forum met both leading European experts and representatives from countries with high incidence of stomach cancer - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Yakutia, Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, as well as representatives of international professional and patient organizations. Over the course of the week, various topical issues related to research on gastric cancer prevention were discussed, projects implemented in Latvia were presented, and opportunities for future cooperation with foreign partners were discussed.

February 21th, 2018. For the third day active work and meetings is continuing in the framework of the International Gastric Cancer Prevention Research Forum. On Wednesday, forum participants had an excellent opportunity to visit the GISTAR Madona regional research center to get acquainted with its work on the spot and ask questions to the Research Center staff. The event was also attended by the chairman of the Madona City Council Agris Lungevičs, chairman of the board of Madona Hospital Artis Stuburs, members of the board Andis Audze and Atis Svilāne, as well as representatives of local media. During the second part of the day, a meeting was held at the premises of the University of Latvia's Microsoft Innovation Center. The topic of seminar was the unexplored opportunities and new technologies for reducing stomach cancer mortality. It was devoted to the presentation of survey data for specialists and risk populations, as well as the necessary improvements in gastric cancer prevention. The latest advances in technology, including advanced breath examinations for early detection of cancer, were also presented. The International Cooperation Partners of the University of Latvia of the consortium of the European project SNIFFPHONE ('smartphone for illness') and the representative of the European Patient Organization Europa Colon had also arrived to Riga to attend the meetings.
    In the pictures:  Moments form Madona research centre visit                           Meeting in Microsoft innovation Centre

February 20th, 2018. Today a meeting on the possibilities of expanding the GISTAR study is taking place at the Small Hall of the University of Latvia, which is being organized within the framework of the International Gastric cancer prevention research forum.


Indriķis Muiznieks, Rector of the University of Latvia, opened the meeting and gave an introductory speech.

The lectures were also given by Professor of the University of Latvia, head of the GISTAR study, Mārcis Leja, representative of the European Cancer Prevention Organization (ECP) Jaak Janssen, Sergey Pimanov, representative of the Vitebsk State Medical University (Belarus) and others.
On the second day of the forum, experts from countries with high morbidity - Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - are introduced with the principles of the GISTAR study and the experience of Latvia. The purpose of the discussion - to explore the possibility of expanding research activities in these countries as well.
A video can be found here.
I.Muižnieks opens the second day               Participants of the forum       Building of the University with forum banner

February 19th, 2018. Today, the International Gastric cancer prevention research forum has been successfully launched. It started with a press conference. The vice-rector of the University of Latvia Valdis Seglins spoke highly of the work done by researchers at the University of Latvia, the international cooperation that has been implemented so far, and emphasized the importance of the research on gastric cancer. Prof. Marcis Leja addressed both- the program of the ongoing forum and the GISTAR study conducted by the University of Latvia. The spokeswoman for the International Cancer Research Agency Jin Young Park briefly presented the agency's operating principles, the problem of gastric cancer in the world, and the role of the GISTAR project. In turn, Nurbek Igissinov, Director of the Central Asian Cancer Institute and Aivars Fomins, Deputy Chairman of Aluksne County Council, presented a positive experience in the implementation of the GISTAR project.

The next part of the day was dedicated to discussing manuscripts related to gastrointestinal cancer research.

A video of the press conference can be found here.

February 8th, 2018. 

The International GISTAR Study Extension and Gastric Cancer Prevention Research Forum, organized by the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia, will take place on February 19-23. It will bring together leading European experts and representatives from countries with high levels of gastric cancer, as well as representatives from international professional and patient organizations. During the week, various topical issues related to research on gastric cancer prevention will be discussed, the projects implemented in Latvia will be presented and opportunities for future cooperation with foreign partners will be discussed.

The Forum's programs can be found here:

* MONDAY, February 19th
* TUESDAY, February 20th
   * Live stream
* WEDNESDAY, February 21st
* THURSDAY, February 22nd
* FRIDAY, February 23rd
   * Invitation
   * Programme

More information about the Forum is available here.

Event venues:
    The University of Latvia, Mazā aula        Academic Centre for Natural Sciences    Centre of Inovation of LU and Microsoft
               19 Raina blvd., Riga                             1 Jelgavas street, Riga                            4 Kalpaka blvd., Riga

Event location and coordinates on the map:

January 30th, 2018. The GISTAR Regional center in Madona is actively continuing its work, and there are 800 respondents included in the study. It is planned to extend the implementation of the study in Madona until May 31st, that is why documents further coordination with the representatives of Madona City Council and Madona Hospital do take place.

Still ongoing active recruitment in the GISTAR Regional center in Rezekne.

January 15th, 2018. Active discussions are continuing with representatives of Preiļi City Council and the Hospital about realization of the GISTAR study in Preiļi. It is planned that the study in Preiļi will begin on the 1st of June, 2018.

November 30th, 2017. Today at Rezekne regional GISTAR sudy center the 1000th respondent was included! His mane is Fjodoras Cuprinikovas, a resident of Rezekne region. Fjodoras, in a conversation with the GISTAR study representatives, notes that he has come to the examinations, because taking care of health is in the first place for him. Fjodoras does not drink alcohol, does not smoke and cares for a healthy diet. In the conversation he notes that it is difficult to avoid inherited illnesses, so it is very important to do examinations on time. The GISTAR regional research centres is a great opportunity to conduct such examinations. Fjodoras commends the employees of the Rezekne regional center, noting that they are nice, friendly and responsive, and are very much trying to do their job well. Fjodoras points out, as important in the realization of the GISTAR study, that it is essential for the research to develop directly in the regions, because here people are less informed and often carelessly treating their own health and are reluctant to attend doctors. The thousandth respondent recommends everyone to go to the examinations because the attitude to you own health is of utmost importance!

In the picures: Fjodoras Cuprinikovas with the employees of Rezekne Regional Research Center

November 20th, 2017. At the conference organized by the European Cancer Prevention Organization (ECP)  on 17-18th of November (Antwerpen, Belgium) the GISTAR study protocol and process were presented, as well as opportunities for further cooperation with this organization were discussed.

In the picture: Flanders Prime Minister G. Bourgeois opens the conference (November 18th, 2017)

November 17th, 2017. The seminar for family physicians took place at Madona City Hospital yesterday, on 16th of November. During the seminar the scientific director of the GISTAR study Mārcis Leja delivered a lecture entitled "Gastritis, H. pylori. Doctor's behavior ". The progress of the GISTAR study was also presented to the participants of the seminar by professor M.Leja. At the end of the seminar physicians had the opportunity to ask questions to the professor.

November 16th, 2017. On November 14th at 7:40 am at Madona regional GISTAR sudy center the 500th respondent was included! During the visit to Madona Center, research leader M.Leja and coordinator A.Rudule thanked Madonna employees for their accomplishments. 

November 9th, 2017. We are glad to announce, that for today altogether 6000 respondents have been included in the GISTAR study! 890 individuals of these were included in the study at Rezekne Regional Center, 483 - in Madona. Recruitment is continuing.


November 3rd, 2017. During the United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW) in Barcelona there was the regular meeting of the International Group of Healthy Stomach Initiative (HSI). It is an international group of medical professionals with a purpose to pay attention of the medical professionals and the population to stomach health and preventive measures that provide it.

The scientific director of the GISTAR study M.Leja reported on the progress of the study in Latvia, as well as on a pilot study process in Kazakhstan.
Chief editor of the Gut (leading gastrointestinal journal in Europe) E.El-Omar (Sydney, Australia), praised the results of the study of breath tests carried out in Latvia as most cited articles of this magazine in connection with stomach problems.

November 1st, 2017. The scientific director of the GISTAR study M.Leja and leading investigator I.Kikuste together with Ekaterina V. Melnikova and her collegue (Yaroslavl, Russia) with the poster in United European Gastroenterology Week (UEGW) in Barcelona discussing the potential of Russian centres to get involved in GISTAR study. The poster is covering the accuracy of pepsinogen tests to detect atrophy in the stomach mucosa, and the first author is Claudia Robles from the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

October 31st, 2017. On October 24-25th professor of the University of Vanderbilt Maria Blanca Piazuelo, visited Latvia.

On October 24th M.B. Piazuelo met with the leading researchers of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia - Sergei Isaev, Arnis Kirshners and Sergei Parshutin. During the meeting M.B. Piazuelo was introduced to the GISTAR Information System and Histology Slide Storage System. There were discussed several topics – entering of the histological findings of the stomach biopsy in the GISTAR system, and the adaptation of histology slide resolution for system and research purposes. The definition of pre-cancerous stomach conditions, the methods used and their interpretation were discussed by scientists. During the meeting, samples of the biopsy of the most complicated patients in the GISTAR study were also analyzed.
On October 25th M.B. Piazuelo met with the scientific director of the GISTAR study, Professor of the University of Latvia, Marcis Leja. During the meeting GISTAR research activities and the progress on publications were discussed.
For information - Maria Blanca Piazuelo is one of the world's leading specialists in detecting pre-cancerous stomach conditions. This is the second time Prof. Piazuelo, within the framework of the collaborative study, arrives in Riga. It should be noted that prof. Piazuelo is a student and work successor of Pelayo Correa, the world-famous American pathologist.

In the picture: Prof. Maria Blanca Piazuelo

September 12th, 2017. The results of research in Latvia in the form of several reports were reported at the XXXth International Workshop on Helicobacter and Microbiota in Inflammation and Cancer, which took place on September 7 - 9th in Bordeaux, France. The participants of the conference, among them the Nobel Prize winner B. Marshall and other leading experts in the industry participating in the conference, were reported the data obtained in Latvia by residents and graduates of the University of Latvia (Yelizaveta Pavlova, Olga Sjomina, Zane Dzerve), and researchers of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine (Ilva Daugule, Ieva Lashina, Darta Pupola). The Helicobacter pylori genome project (HpGP) which also includes Latvia was represented in the framework of the Congress.


August 29th, 2017. The design of the GISTAR study was published in the international scientific journal BMJ Open.

August 22nd, 2017. We are pleased to announce that on August 18th, the opening ceremony of the GISTAR Regional center in Madona took place. It was attended by the GISTAR project leader Professor of the University of Latvia Marcis Leja, Deputy Chairman of the Council on Education, Culture and Social Affairs Zigfrīds Gora, Medical Director of the Madona Hospital Astrīda Svilāne, Chairman of the board of the Hospital Artis Stuburs and Member of the Board Andis Audže. The research leader M.Leja appreciated the high level of activity of Madona's city residents and interest in this project, thanked the city hospital and municipality for supporting the project, and also mentioned the importance of the GISTAR project for small regions. Future cooperation opportunities for the successful continuation of the study in Madona were discussed with the management of the hospital and the municipality. The research coordinator Aiga Rūdule presented the research process and details to the participants of the event.

August 8th, 2017. The first week of the GISTAR Regional center in Madona has been successful.During that time the research center was attended by the first 30 respondents (including 18 women and 12 men).

August 1st, 2017. With the support of Madona Municipality and the City Hospital, the GISTAR Regional center in Madona has started its work. On its first working day the center was visited by the first three respondents. In total, 4996 respondents have already been included in the study.

July 24th, 2017. Research employees of GISTAR study Inese Veckagane and Eva Martinsone, together with the future staff of the regional GISTAR centre in Madona, are visiting Rezekne to introduce new employees on-site to the daily work process of the research center.


July 21st and 22nd, 2017. The second round of training for the future staff of the regional GISTAR centre in Madona is underway. During the training courses, the new employees learned the practical skills necessary for the study, as well as how the participants are included in the study. The work was carried out in pairs, the future employees were 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.



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