Construction of a modern medical centre, in which it will be possible to diagnose cancer and heart diseases in their early stage of development, is started in Riga. It will be the most advanced centre of such kind in the Baltic region, it will use the most sophisticated nuclear medicine technologies. The purpose of establishing the centre is to enable diagnostics of cancer and heart diseases in Latvia at the same quality level as in developed European countries as well as to produce and export materials necessary for diagnostics to medical centres in other countries.
AS Norvik Banka, Medical centre NMC and Riga Stradins University have agreed to allot financing for the project. Almost 10 million Euros will be invested in formation of the centre – up to 4 million will be available from the bank while 5.7 million Euros is ERAF investment.
Precise and timely cancer diagnostics is a topical issue in Baltic countries and Belarus (totally about 16 million residents). According to the data of the Disease Prevention and Control Centre of the Central Bureau of Statistics, in Latvia, the mortality from oncologic diseases slowly, but consistently increases from 18.4% (2006) to 20.9% (2011) of the total number of deaths. Mortality from blood circulation diseases accounts for 53.2-54.9% of the total number of deaths.
Cancer is a subject of risk of late or not precise diagnostics since the most contemporary diagnostics approach – nuclear medicine is not currently used in Latvia. This method envisages using radio nuclides living only for a short moment (15-110 minutes). The patient is examined in a combination of a tomograph of a new type (positron emission tomograph or PET) and a computed tomograph. The outcome is much more accurate results of examination, and disease can be identified on its early stage, including by scanning the patient’s entire body, not only one part.
The medicine centre NMC will be oriented at Latvian and foreign patients and will export, under synthetic and scientific projects, relevant radio nuclides necessary for researching new medicine, to Vilnius, Kaunas, Vitebsk, Minsk, Tallinn and Tartu. In these cities, it is possible to perform PET diagnostics, but isotopes are not produced there (currently they are imported from Germany and Finland). It is planned to produce 5,000 doses a year in total. The centre will encourage medical tourism – patients from neighbouring countries will be able to take examination, and Latvia will offer by 30-40% lower price than a similar centre in Finland. The centre will be capable to perform 3,000 examinations a year.
The medical centre NMC will be located in Riga, on Marupes St 19a. Currently, the first stage of construction works has begun. The centre is supposed to be submitted for use in the summer 2015, but the first clinic researches and patient examinations are scheduled for January 2016. Then steps will be taken to develop medical tourism.