The team of the VOGAS project has visited the project partners in Brazil

From 7 to 16 May, the VOGAS project consortium met in South America, Brazil.

In Manaus and the São Paulo Clinical Center, the team conducted a detailed analysis planning, discussed clinical activities at each center, provided an up-to-date insight into project outcomes, and continued the development of the breath test screening / early detection equipment, started in the VOGAS project.

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

Finnish partners have been hosted in Latvia

At the end of March, LU KPMI hosted the partner of the project VOGAS, the senior research scientist of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Veikko Ikonen. Meanwhile his stay, he visited the Latvian Oncology Centre, as well as met with the medical staff of the LU KPMI. Employees who work with patients on a daily basis presented the clinical activities of the VOGAS project, patient recruitment processes and the conduct of breath tests. V. Ikonen was also introduced with the LU KPMI Biobak and the processes of collection and storage of biological samples of patients. The main ethical aspects of the study, ensuring a safe conduct of the study for patients, were also discussed during the meeting.

In the photo: from left: Veikko Ikonen, the senior research scientist of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; Aija, LU KPMI’s medical nurse; Viktors Veliks, the senior research scientist of LU KMPI

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

On the extension of the VOGAS project activities

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and a pandemic on 11 March. In order to protect the population from possible infection with COVID-19, most countries, included our project partners’ countries, announced the emergency situation, which limited job opportunities in the institutions.

It should be stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic situation significantly affected VOGAS project activities.  The strict restrictions limited the work of all partners and thereby the progress of the research. These pandemic-related problems include delays in purchase/delivery of laboratory consumables and materials caused by the broken supply chains, delays and problems during the transport of samples between laboratories and limited human resources etc.

Considering these reasons project has been extended till September 2022.

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

The XXXIV International Workshop of the European Helicobacter and Microbiota Research Group has been held

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the XXXIV International Workshop of the European Helicobacter and Microbiota Research Group was held online.

Among other participating researchers from all over Europe, results of our project were reported by researchers from the University of Innsbruck, Daria Slefarka and Pawel Mochalski. The two researchers who are actively involved in project’s clinical activities, presented a report titled ‘Ex-vivo profiling of volatile organic compounds released from gastric cancer and non-cancerous tissue’.

Abstracts from the event are available here:

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

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.

ACS Sensors special edition

Our paper on combining IR specroscopy with MOX sensors for Breath Analysis is recognized in the special edition of ACS Sensors celebrating the Editorial Advisory Board.

Congratulations to Johannes, Carsten and the rest of the team for their great work.

iHWG-MOX: A Hybrid Breath Analysis System via the Combination of Substrate-Integrated Hollow Waveguide Infrared Spectroscopy with Metal Oxide Gas Sensors
Johannes Glöckler, Carsten Jaeschke, Yusuf Kocaöz, Vjekoslav Kokoric, Erhan Tütüncü, Jan Mitrovics, and Boris Mizaikoff*
ACS Sens. 5, 4, 1033-1039  Publication Date (Web):March 19, 2020

Link to the paper:

Link to the special issue:

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