Latvian scientists to lead gastric cancer screening development in Europe

House of Science of the University of Latvia

Author: Toms Grīnbergs, University of Latvia Communication department

The Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia (UL ICPM) has begun leading a new European project. Under the guidance of Latvian scientists, more than 20 partners from 14 European countries will work for recommending appropriate implementation of gastric cancer screening across the European Union (EU). The project will include evaluation of various strategies for effective prevention of gastric cancer mortality in all EU member states. It is one of three EU-funded projects launched since the EU Council approved a new approach to cancer screening in December last year. The project results will aide policy makers in incorporating gastric cancer screening into their healthcare priorities.

The Recommendation approved by the EU Council at the end of last year includes updates to existing recommendations for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening. The new approach also calls for extending screening programmes to prostate, lung and, under certain circumstances, gastric cancer, in a stepwise approach. The Recommendation is part of a new EU Cancer Screening Scheme, put forward as a flagship initiative of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan. The new EU approach, based on the latest available scientific developments and evidence, will help ensuring that 90% of the EU population who qualify for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings are offered such screening by 2025. For lung, prostate, and gastric cancers, the Recommendation invites a gradual introduction in all member states.

The general objective of the project “Towards gastric cancer screening implementation in the European Union", abbreviated TOGAS, is to provide the missing evidence-based knowledge by implementing three pilot studies, each designed to address specific aspects of gastric cancer screening and its early detection. Involving cost effectiveness modelling and addressing medical ethics aspects, the results will be further transferred to design a plan and implement appropriate gastric cancer prevention across the EU. The results from this project will aide policy makers in incorporating gastric cancer screening into their healthcare priorities while balancing its effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability with long-term potential adverse effects.

The Scientific Manager of the project prof. Mārcis Leja

Author: Toms Grīnbergs, University of Latvia Communication department

“Currently, no effective screening modality to prevent gastric cancer is available in Europe. Elimination of H.pylori bacteria is expected to decrease the gastric cancer caused mortality by 40%, with another approach being an early detection of precancerous lesions for surveillance. It is essential to find ways to implement this prevention in practice," states the Scientific Manager of the project, Institute of Clinical and Preventive Medicine of the University of Latvia director, prof. Mārcis Leja.

The project is supported by the European Union programme EU4Health and will run for 36 months. Along with prof. Leja, the project team includes UL ICPM researcher and project scientific coordinator Danute Ražuka-Ebela and UL ICPM project coordinator Madara Grīnšteine.

Universities, research organisations, European networks and professional organizations, hospitals, and medical centres are among the partner organisations, and anticipates close collaboration with representatives from EU member state ministries and responsible institutions for screening implementation. The TOGAS consortium comprise: International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the European Society of Digestive Oncology (ESDO), Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE), the European Helicobacter and Microbiota Study Group (EHMSG), the European Cancer Organization (E.C.O.), the National Institute of Public Health in Slovenia (NIJZ), Nantes University Hospital in France, Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, the Portuguese Oncology Institute (I.P.O.), the Madrilenian Health Service in Spain, the Foundation for Biomedical Research in Spain, the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Iuliu Hațieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Romania, Wroclaw Medical University in Poland, University Hospital Centre Zagreb in Croatia, Clinical Hospital Center Rijeka in Croatia, Thomas More University in Belgium, Beakon Hospital Sandyford Limited in Ireland, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg in Germany, and the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology in Poland.

This project has received funding from the European Union programme EU4Health under Grant Agreement No 101101252


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