New test to crack down on sporting drugs-cheat test

Scientists from three UK universities have developed a new test to catch drugs-cheats in sport.

Over the last 10 years, the GH-2004 team, which is based the University of Southampton, has been developing a test for misuse in sport with funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and US Anti-Doping Agency and with support from UK Anti-Doping.

The test, developed by scientists at the University of Southampton, King's College London and University of Kent at Canterbury, is based on the measurement of two proteins in the blood, -I and the amino terminal pro-peptide of type III collagen. Both of these proteins, which act as markers of growth hormone use, increase in response to growth hormone.

The test was used for the first time by King's College London analysts at the anti-doping laboratory for the Olympic and .

On 8 September 2012, the International Paralympic Committee announced that two powerlifters had received two year suspensions for Anti-Doping Rule Violations involving Growth Hormone following an adverse laboratory finding using the new markers test.

The case was a world first as some of the latest testing methods were used which were only introduced prior to London 2012. The new method is able to detect misuse of over a number of weeks, compared to previous methods used which only detected use over a shorter time period.

Richard Holt, Professor in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Southampton and also a consultant in Diabetes at Southampton General Hospital, said, "We are pleased to have another effective and reliable means to catch cheats and help deter harmful drug misuse. There has been a tremendous amount of team work to develop this test and I am delighted that this dedication has finally succeeded. I would like to thank the World Anti-Doping Agency, US Anti-Doping and UK Anti-Doping for their support and trust in our work."

Professor David Cowan, Head of the Drug Control Centre at King's College London and Director of the anti-doping laboratory for the Games, said: "These findings prove that the years of research have been worthwhile. In partnership with the University of Southampton and Kent University, this has been one of the most complex scientific projects the Drug Control Centre at King's has been involved in. To be able to carry out this test at this year's Games is a huge achievement. It represents a big step forward in staying at the forefront of anti-doping science, to help deter in sport."

Andy Parkinson, UK Anti-Doping Chief Executive, adds: "Continual improvement in testing science is fundamental to the global anti-doping movement, ensuring that sophisticated dopers are caught and those at a tipping point are deterred. I am delighted that this UK developed test, which my team has been closely involved with, was used at the 2012 Paralympic Games to such good effect."

WADA President John Fahey praised the test by saying: "The new test – which has been approved by WADA – was first introduced prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and we are confident that it will prove a significant tool in the fight against doping in sport.

"It will complement the that has been in use since the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the major difference being that the anti-doping community now has a much longer detection window to work with."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Anti-doping expert warns cheating athletes

Sep 15, 2011

Professor David Cowan, Director of the Drug Control Center at King’s College London, has warned athletes who take prohibited performance-enhancing substances that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be ...

GMO in sport: Genetically Modified Olympians?

Jul 15, 2012

As athletes get ready to smash Olympic records in London, scientists are in a high-stakes race of their own to develop a test that will unmask anyone altering their genes in a desperate quest for gold.

Green tea could cloud Olympic doping tests

Apr 05, 2012

(AP) -- Olympic doping officials are considering whether to tweak their tests after a recent British study showed green tea might hide testosterone from the standard test used to spot it.

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

Italy scraps ban on donor-assisted reproduction

Apr 09, 2014

Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a Catholic Church-backed ban against assisted reproduction with sperm or egg donors that has forced thousands of sterile couples to seek help abroad.

User comments