Events of 2017

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 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.


June 28th and 29th, 2017. The future employees of the regional GISTAR centre in Madona are undergoing tuition. GISTAR project leader 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. Within this tuition the new team is getting acquainted with the research protocol and questionnaire. They are also familiarizing themselves with the laboratory tasks.

June 15th, 2017. The GISTAR team consisting of Aiga Rudule, Eva Martinsone, Liliāna Cilvjāne and Anna Jermačenko visited Rezekne regional research center. The study coordinator Aiga Rūdule introduced new colleagues to the study center staff and daily work. For today altogether 212 respondents have been included in the GISTAR study in Rezekne.

June 14th, 2017.

Madona City Hospital was visited by the GISTAR study coordinator Aiga Rūdule and the research representative Eva Martinsone in order to visit the study center facilities and meet with the hospital management. Recruitment of potential research center staff was started.


May 30th, 2017. The article “Detection of gastric atrophy by circulating pepsinogens: a comparison of three assays” written by GISTAR project leader Professor Mārcis Leja has been published in International and peer rewired journal “Helicobacter” online version. Brief summary of the article:

The study was carried out comparing diagnostic performance of three commonly used pepsinogen assays to detect histologically confirmed gastric atrophy, determining serum marker – pepsinogen level in blood samples. Comparison was made between applied test methods in Japan, Europe and Russia, areas with an increased risk of cancer, using identical patient population. In summary, data demonstrated good correlations of all measurements among three test-systems, determining relatively similiar pepsinogen levels in patient samples. Commercial assays for pepsinogen have good relative agreement but are imperfect tests for clinical diagnosis of gastric atrophy , and are not sufficient to recommend this approach for wide implementation in cancer risk-screening. Pepsinogen testing alone does not provide sufficient information for gastric cancer risk stratification. Future investigations should focus on other potential markers, in combination with pepsinogens.

The study was conducted in collaboration with scientists from the leading USA cancer research institution - National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The project was carried out within the National Research Program "Biomedicine for public health (BIOMEDICINE)" for 2014-2017.

Entire laboratory work was carried out in Latvia by Dace Rudzīte.

The Summary of an Article available here:

May 24th, 2017. Seminar for family doctors was held at "Zeimuļs" - The Creative Services Center of Eastern Latvia in Rezekne. GISTAR project leader Professor Mārcis Leja gave a lecture "Gastritis, H. pylori. Physician behavior". At the seminar was also held discussions, during which family doctors had a possibility to ask their questions to Professor M.Leja. As well as the process of GISTAR study were reported by M.Leja.

May 15th, 2017. Still ongoing active recruitment in the GISTAR study. 107 individuals in Rezekne were included in the GISTAR Project from April 4th, 2017.

May 9th, 2017. For the second month in a row the recruitment of respondents is taking place in the GISTAR Regional center in Rezekne. For today altogether 4720 respondents have been included in the GISTAR study. Regional center in Rezekne have been visited by 89 people. Recruitment is continuing.

As part of further planning GISTAR study, the document coordination with representatives of Madona City Council and Madona Hospital takes place. It is planned to start Regional center in Madona in August.

May 8th, 2017. GISTAR activities was discussed at Healthy Stomach Initiative (HSI) meeting in Chicago, USA. Group of researchers from Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of University of Latvia informed about the progress of the project in Latvia, pilot study in Kazakhstan, as well as results of survey of specialists. Among the listeners were study Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) members, several chief editors of leading magazines in this specialty, and editorial board representatives.

In the picture: Participants of the meeting

April 21th, 2017. The results of the GISTAR pilot study are presented at the International Gastric Cancer Congress (IGCC 2017) in Beijing, China, gathering over 5000 participants from all over the world.

April 10th, 2017. The first week of the GISTAR Regional center in Rezekne has been very successful. The official opening event had been held on Friday, 7th of April. Opening was attended by the head of the GISTAR, Professor of University of Latvia Mārcis Leja, the Chairman of the council of Rezekne Aleksandrs Bartaševičs, representatives form Latgale's Regional Television, and newspaper "Rēzeknes Vēstis". M.Leja discussed on the further cooperation with A.Bartaševičs. The process of the study was presented to participants of the meeting by research koordinator Aiga Rūdule.

To see videos press here:
LTV 1 Dienas ziņas 18.04.2017.

Latgales Reģionālā TV 18.04.2017.

April 4th, 2017. We are glad to announce The GISTAR Regional center in Rezekne has started its work yesterday, on the 3rd of April. On its first working day the center was visited by the first respondents.

In the picture: The receptionist of the research center is interviewing respondent.

In the picture: The employee of the research center is preparing blood samples for further storage.

March 21th, 2017. After the successful training courses, work is ready to start The GISTAR Regional center in Rezekne. The future employees were undergoing tuition. Within this tuition the new team was getting acquainted with the research protocol and questionnaire. They were also familiarizing themselves with the laboratory tasks.

March 3rd, 2017. On the 2-3rd of March, at the 43rd Scientific Session of CSRIG conference "From tradition to innovation", professor M. Leja has reported on screening options in colorectal and gastric cancer. The conference took place in Moscow, and was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Central Scientific Research Institute of Gastroenterology. Lecturer participated as well in the discussion on the eradication of H. pylori and informed about GISTAR study progress.

More information:

See photos at: http://гастросессия.рф/foto-gastrosessii-2017

February 28th, 2017. The regional research center of Dobele has concluded its work. During the period from September 1st 2016 till February 28th 2017, 529 respondents have been included in the GISTAR study. The preparatory work for the new study center in Rezekne and the tuition for the personnel in Riga is taking place at this very moment.

January 27, 2017. Aiga Rudule visited Rezekne in order to discuss the GISTAR realization possibilities with the heads of Rezekne Hospital.

January 25, 2017.The protocol about the economical and scientific cooperation between Latvia and Belarus was signed during the 12th Intergovernmental commission meeting.
The research development in the oncological field with the aim to decrease the mortality from malignant diseases was emphasized in the chapter of the protocol about cooperation in science and technologies. The collaboration in cancer screening was also underlined.

The GISTAR Project, implemented by the University of Latvia under the supervision of the International Agency for Research (IARC) on Cancer, provides a great scope of opportunities for both sides to develop the infrastructure for cancer prevention.

January 19, 2017. For today altogether 4500 respondents have been included in the GISTAR study! Recruitment is continuing.


January 18, 2017. As part of further planning GISTAR study, meetings were held with representatives of Madona City Council and representatives of Madona Hospital.

Active negotiations are continuing on the implementation GISTAR study with representatives of Rezekne City Council and representatives of Rezekne hospital management.

January 10-11, 2017. Group of scientists from Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine together with partners from Latvian Biomedicine Study and Research centre visited Karolinska Institute. The aim of this visit was to get acquainted with Microbiome Translational Research Centre recently established at Karolinska Institute and led by Professor Lars Engstrand. CTMR aims to better understand the contribution of the human microbiome to physiology and pathophysiology with the goal to open opportunities for development of novel therapies in the area of gastroenterology, reproductive health and neonatology. As CTMR has gathered substantial experience and knowledge on analysing human gut microbiome, continuation of collaboration based on population samples obtained within the GISTAR study would generate better understanding on human-microorganism interaction in health and development of disease.


Copyright © 2012-2023 by GiStar LU KPMI LATVIA. All Rights Reserved.