January 31, 2023. Every fourth resident of Liepāja should carefully monitor the health of their digestive tract

Publicity photo: Toms Grīnbergs, UL Communication department

The GISTAR study, conducted in Liepāja by the University of Latvia Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine (UL ICPM) and the Liepāja Regional Hospital proves that every fourth resident of the Liepāja region should carefully monitor the health of their digestive tract.

Of the 584 residents who have participated in the study so far, 119 have been diagnosed with H.pylori, a bacteria promoting development of stomach cancer. In such cases, research participants are prescribed eradication therapy for the mentioned bacteria. For those study participants who are found to have deviations from the norm in their blood or fecal samples, which has been the case in another 30 cases, additional examinations are prescribed - upper endoscopy or colonoscopy.

The statistics of cancer of the digestive system in Latvia, in Europe and throughout the world are increasing every year. Every fourth newly diagnosed cancer develops in the digestive tract. Gastrointestinal tumors are the third leading cause of cancer deaths. Colorectal (colon and rectal) cancer and stomach cancer are the most common tumors of the digestive system. About 1,100 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 700 die from it in Latvia annually. Every year, 500 - 600 inhabitants of Latvia fall ill with stomach cancer, which, compared to the indicators of European Union countries, is one of the highest in relation to the number of inhabitants. Scientists involved in the GISTAR study remind that a  detection of malignant tumors allows for successful treatment, which also significantly increases the survival rate of the patients.

Also currently, the residents of Liepāja and the surrounding area between the ages of 40 and 64 are invited to check upon health of their digestive tract. Free health examinations are held in Liepāja, 23 Jūrmalas Street, every working day from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. More information about the the tests is available on the research website www.gistar.eu, application by phone - 25679868

The project is funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) 1.1.1.1. project ‘Practical Studies’, 4th phase, project ID Nr. 1.1.1.1/20/A/035 ‘Hybrid-sensor breath analysis for colorectal cancer screening’. The project is co–financed by REACT-EU to mitigate the effects of the pandemic crisis. 


October 31, 2022. GISTAR study at an informative seminar to general practitioners

On October 28, an informative seminar was held for general practitioners in Liepāja and South Kurzeme. It was organized by the Environment, Health and Public Participation Department of the Liepāja City Municipality Administration. 
As part of the event, the director of the UL ICPM, gastroenterologist and UL professor Mārcis Leja gave a lecture on different approaches to reducing stomach cancer mortality and the European perspective on these issues. In addition to these aspects, the professor informed the general practitioners about the GISTAR study, which is currently taking place in Liepāja, and invited them to get involved in its implementation by informing their patients about the opportunities to take part in the study.

Photos: from personal archive

Liepāja Sports Health Center's offer was presented by Artis Lagzdiņš, the manager of the LOC Olympic Centre. Anita Zolmane, head of the Kurzeme branch of the National Health Service, presented the current affairs of the NHS.

The project is funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) 1.1.1.1. project ‘Practical Studies’, 4th phase, project ID Nr. 1.1.1.1/20/A/035 ‘Hybrid-sensor breath analysis for colorectal cancer screening’.


October 15, 2022. Results of the HYCOR project were presented at the UEGWEEK 2022

From October 8 to 11, the senior laboratory technician of the HYCOR project and resident doctor Linda Anarkulova took part in the United European Gastroenterology Week 2022 – UEGWEEK 2022 in Vienna, Austria. For taking part in the event, she had received the UEG National Scholar Award. This award is given to the promising investigators at a junior level by awarding the highest scoring abstracts per country.

Photo: Linda Anarkulova. From personal archive.

At the congress, L. Anarkulova presented the poster presentation "Application of modular multi-sensor VOC analyzer for non-invasive detection of colorectal cancer" that is based in the project HYCOR results. The poster presentation was on the screening of colorectal cancer with a breath analysis, based on the detection of volatile organic compounds in the breath using a sensor breath analyzer.

The aim of the study was to differentiate between colorectal cancer patients and individuals without cancer. Participants in these two groups – colorectal cancer patients and a control group - performed a breath test in a sensor breath analyzer. The obtained results showed that the sensor breath analyzer is able to distinguish between colorectal cancer patients and control group study participants. The study will be continued to build and evaluate more specific detection models in larger patient groups.

The project is funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) 1.1.1.1. project ‘Practical Studies’, 4th phase, project ID Nr. 1.1.1.1/20/A/035 ‘Hybrid-sensor breath analysis for colorectal cancer screening’.


September 15, 2022. A poster presentation on the results of the HYCOR project, implemented by UL ICPM, is to be given at the UEGWEEK 2022

The poster presentation "Application of modular multi-sensor VOC analyzer for non-invasive detection of colorectal cancer", prepared by the resident doctor Linda Anarkulova - the senior laboratory technician of the HYCOR project -, has been approved for presentation at the congress at the United European Gastroenterology Week 2022, taking place from October 8 to October 11, 2022 in Austria, Vienna. It can be visited both in person and remotely online. Please find out more information on the event’s website

L. Anarkulova's report is on the screening of colorectal cancer - one of the most common and deadliest tumors. In order to reduce the mortality caused by colorectal cancer, it is necessary to implement an effective screening method. Such a method could be breath analysis, which is based on the detection of volatile organic compounds in the breath using a sensor breath analyzer. The aim of the study was to differentiate between colorectal cancer patients and individuals without cancer, and included two study groups: colorectal cancer patients and a control group. Participants in these two groups performed a breath test in a sensor breath analyzer. The obtained results showed that the sensor breath analyzer is able to distinguish between colorectal cancer patients and control group study participants. 

The project is funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) 1.1.1.1. project ‘Practical Studies’, 4th phase, project ID Nr. 1.1.1.1/20/A/035 ‘Hybrid-sensor breath analysis for colorectal cancer screening’


July 26, 2022. As part of the GISTAR project, several patiens have started a H.pylori eradication therapy

Continuing the UL Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine project “Hybrid-sensor breath analysis for colorectal cancer screening - HYCOR”, in cooperation with Liepaja Regional Hospital, several patiens have started a H.pylori eradication therapy.

As part of the project, the H.pylori eradication therapy to the patients is provided free of charge.

The project is funded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) 1.1.1.1. project ‘Practical Studies’, 4th phase, project ID Nr. 1.1.1.1/20/A/035 ‘Hybrid-sensor breath analysis for colorectal cancer screening’


July 21, 2022. A paper originating from the GISTAR study on biomerkers for detecting gastric precancerous  lesions is published online

A paper on the relevance of blood biomarkers (including pepsinogen) for non-invasive diagnosis of gastric precancerous lesions has been published in DIAGNOSTICS

Assessment of Serum Pepsinogens with and without Co-Testing with Gastrin-17 in Gastric Cancer Risk Assessment—Results from the GISTAR Pilot Study

The study was carried out using the GISTAR material gained in the study GISTAR, run by UL ICPM in the regions of Latvia.  

The research was performed in close cooperation within an international consortium. The first author of the paper is Claudia Robles from Spain, other authorship include researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (France) among the team from the UL ICPM.

The study was performed in cooperation with the Center for Digestive Diseases GASTRO and Academic Histology Laboratory.


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