Validation measurements of the new generation of VOGAS exhaled breath analyzer are taking place at the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine, University of Latvia

This special exhaled breath analyser have a combine electronic nose concepts utilizing gold nanoparticles and metal oxide sensors with orthogonal mid-infrared spectroscopic techniques for obtaining multi-dimensional analytical data sets. 

The healthy individuals are invited to participate in validation study. All of participants donate breath sample in all five hybrid VOGAS prototypes.  

The VOGAS project aim is a developing a non-invasive gastric cancer screening tool by detecting characteristic panels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

The first clinical trials of the VOGAS project were started in November 2019 at the University of Latvia in cooperation with the Riga East Clinical University Hospital and the Digestive Diseases Center “GASTRO”. 

After validation study, the clinical studies will be conducted in parallel in European (Latvia, Ukraine) and Latin American (Colombia, Brazil, Chile) countries. Patients with gastric cancer and individuals with and without precancerous lesions will be enrolled. 

* Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 824986

Confirms the effectiveness of a smartphone-connected device that can detect gastric cancer after exhalation

The results obtained in the international project SNIFFPHONE *, in which an exhaled air analysis device to be connected to a smartphone has been developed, confirm the usefulness of the technology in the diagnosis of gastric cancer. In March, these results were published in the internationally acclaimed magazine CANCER.

In the SNIFFPHONE project, scientists developed a special device that can be connected to a mobile phone. The portable “electronic nose” will allow artificial intelligence to analyze the exhaled air and determine with good accuracy whether a person has stomach cancer or a precancerous condition. Scientists from Latvia, Israel, Germany, Ireland, Austria and Finland are involved in the project. The clinical part of the study was performed in Latvia and in our country the group was led by Mārcis Leja, Director of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine (LU KPMI), University of Latvia. The research work of the institute was carried out in close cooperation with the specialists of the Riga East University Hospital and the Academic Histology Laboratory, as well as the Digestive Diseases Center GASTRO.

Within the framework of the project, LU KPMI implemented patient involvement and device testing in clinical conditions. A recent scientific article featured a clinical study of 274 patients using an “electronic nose” to test their breath. 94 of them had a confirmed diagnosis of stomach cancer and surgery, while the rest were healthy and had an endoscopy. Analysis of sensor data revealed significant differences in exhaled air between patients with gastric cancer and 113 control participants with normal endoscopy results. The device also helped to detect, for example, pre-cancerous conditions of the stomach in 67 high-risk patients with relatively acceptable accuracy, which were then confirmed by additional analyzes.

The researchers emphasize that this device plays a particularly important role in the early diagnosis of gastric cancer, which would avoid late-onset cases and reduce patient mortality accordingly. In addition, the technology is relatively inexpensive, works quickly and accurately, and is non-invasive. For comparison, endoscopy, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography are usually used to diagnose stomach cancer. In addition, the Sniffphone is portable, which allows it to be used outside the laboratory. The potential use of the new device is very wide and could be used in the future to detect and monitor other diseases.

Work on the development of an exhaled air analyzer is currently continuing in the framework of another international project – VOGAS *, which plans to make this device even more accurate.

VOGAS project is discussed at the scientific session in Moscow

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 took place.

Director of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive medicine of University of Latvia Marcis 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 VOGAS project, as well as on other volatile marker diagnostic projects to detect gastric cancer.

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

At the conference in St. Petersburg reports about the diagnostic capabilities of volatile markers currently underway in the VOGAS project

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 director of Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia, professor M.Leja. 

In his lecture, M.Leja focused on the diagnostic capabilities of volatile markers, currently underway in the VOGAS project.

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

A working meeting for the VOGAS project takes place in Austria

The annual H2020 VOGAS project working meeting takes place in See, Austria, January 26 – 31. During the meeting project progress and future project plans are discussed.

From Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia the meeting is represented by Director of the institute prof. Mārcis Leja and PhD student Linda Mežmale.

VOGAS project – “Screening of Gastric Cancer via Breath volatile organic compunds by Hybrid Sensing Approach”.

The aim of the VOGAS H2020 project is to clarify the sources of volatile markers, to perform the clinical approbation of the latest generation stationary breath analyzer for early diagnosis of cancer. Using the latest generation of stationary breath analyzers to detect volatile markers, take part in an international stomach cancer screening program to improve this non-invasive method of for diagnosis of cancer.

Samples donated for the VOGAS project will be an important part for MMHP

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 VOGAS 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 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.

Data from the VOGAS and Sniffphone study in Kazakhstan are presented at the conference in Astana

The 14th International conference “Astana-Gastro-2019” was taking place in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, November 1-2, 2019. Marcis Leja (Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine, University of Latvia) was presenting a lecture on gastric cancer screening. The presentation was containing information on the questionnaire results that was conducted within the projects Sniffphone and VOGAS.

Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824986 

Director of the Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia Marcis Leja during presentation

A working meeting for the VOGAS project takes place in Germany

On October 24 – 25 a working meeting of the H2020 project VOGAS was held at Ulm University in Germany.
During the meeting both technological development issues and planned clinical trials in European and Latin American countries were discussed.

These clinical trials are coordinated by Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia

In the front view: Linda Mežmale – expert of the VOGAS project from Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia

At the seminar discusses aspects of responsibility in clinical research

Discussions during the seminar at the Academic Center for Natural Sciences of the University of Latvia

On September 26 – 27 a seminar on responsible research in clinical trials was organized by partners of the Horizon 2020 VOGAS project. The partners discussed various aspects of the applicability of the new diagnostic approach, interviewed physicians and nurses to find out how healthcare professionals experience similar systems, and analyzed best practices for obtaining information from potential users worldwide. The seminar was organized by project partners – Institute of clinical and preventive medicine of the University of Latvia in collaboration with VTT (Technical Research Center of Finland), with participation of Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) and National Cancer Institute of Ukraine (NCIU).

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824986