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Innovative Anti Doping Tests

The Clinic is the only place on Cyclingnews where you can discuss doping-related issues. Ask questions, discuss positives or improvements to procedures.

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Re: Innovative Anti Doping Tests

18 Oct 2018 13:26

It is also interesting that in 1976 the Le Monde journalist was quite convinced that blood doping was going on in the pro cycling when the issue wasn't discussed that much in the media.

If I shall have the opportunity, I will ask some information from the people themselves because I have been working on an essay/article series on the origins of blood doping that might see the light of the day in a few months in which I have incorporated some new material from Sweden sources.
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19 Oct 2018 11:19

Testing for selfie transfusions (autologous) using the age of blood cells as a marker:
A Duke University research team has found a way to help sporting officials detect whether an athlete's blood has been doped by an infusion of their own stored blood.
The science bit:
What Chi and his colleagues looked at in the red blood cells is nucleic acids, specifically RNA. Red blood cells were long thought to lack nucleic acids because they don't carry a nucleus, where one would normally find DNA. But it turns out they contain an abundant and diverse population of RNAs. Among these are some short RNA pieces called microRNAs (miRNA) which generally act to control the production of proteins in a cell.

The researchers drew three units of blood from volunteers and processed them to remove virtually all of the white blood cells and about 80 percent of the plasma, leaving behind a relatively purified sample of red blood cells, just as an autologous transfusion would require.

Then Jennifer Doss, a former Duke graduate student, and other lab members extracted and analyzed RNA samples taken from the cells at eight time intervals, from 1 day to 42 days. Changes in the RNA associated with storage became apparent as they compared the later samples to the Day 1 sample.
More

(H/T)
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Re:

19 Oct 2018 11:25

fmk_RoI wrote:Testing for selfie transfusions (autologous) using the age of blood cells as a marker:
A Duke University research team has found a way to help sporting officials detect whether an athlete's blood has been doped by an infusion of their own stored blood.
The science bit:
What Chi and his colleagues looked at in the red blood cells is nucleic acids, specifically RNA. Red blood cells were long thought to lack nucleic acids because they don't carry a nucleus, where one would normally find DNA. But it turns out they contain an abundant and diverse population of RNAs. Among these are some short RNA pieces called microRNAs (miRNA) which generally act to control the production of proteins in a cell.

The researchers drew three units of blood from volunteers and processed them to remove virtually all of the white blood cells and about 80 percent of the plasma, leaving behind a relatively purified sample of red blood cells, just as an autologous transfusion would require.

Then Jennifer Doss, a former Duke graduate student, and other lab members extracted and analyzed RNA samples taken from the cells at eight time intervals, from 1 day to 42 days. Changes in the RNA associated with storage became apparent as they compared the later samples to the Day 1 sample.
More

(H/T)


I think the paper is open access, it's here:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjh.15605
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Re: Re:

19 Oct 2018 11:40

King Boonen wrote:I think the paper is open access, it's here:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjh.15605
Thanks. I only went as far as looking at the 'British Journal of Haematology' site and that didn't seem to have the article up yet so I gave up early...
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19 Oct 2018 12:43

No worries, I'm assuming the link actually works and it isn't institutional access only?
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Re:

19 Oct 2018 12:46

King Boonen wrote:No worries, I'm assuming the link actually works and it isn't institutional access only?
Yeah, proper open access, thankfully, PDF and all.
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Re: Innovative Anti Doping Tests

21 Oct 2018 16:43

fmk_RoI wrote:After the many journalists who fell in love with Yannis Pitsiladis I find it hard not to be somewhat sceptical of these projects, especially at such an early stage and with so many hurdles to overcome. That said, if it comes good, it's interesting. Will definitely be keeping an eye out for further developments.

I'd be even slightly skeptical even if these researches would produce breakthroughs, because one problem with the blood doping research is always that even when they succeed in making the use of certain method more difficult, usually there is an alternative method available. While there could be less blood doping going on it isn't that certain if it is progress if certain participants can proceed with blood doping whereas others can't and if athletes are pushed to use very expensive and more hazardous methods.

Even if the blood doping methods would be eliminated one-by-one, there are always some undetectable methods, for instance no present or imaginable direct approach to autotransfusions can' detect direct infusion from an identical twin because there are no storage components in the blood nor blood deterioration, it is just identical red fluid flowing from person A to person B.

ABP program is an interesting approach because it at least seemingly makes it more difficult for everyone to blood dope despite all of its insensitivity issues etc. I think it is valid question how much focus there should be from the testers on what takes place within the Z-score limits and how much PED use should be allowed there. It could be that the present system is the best one even with its flaws, but I have started to have some doubts.

One fair but utopistic method to curtail blood doping use would be to take a suspicion index based on Hct, OFFscores and variations and for the UCI to add an extra brake into the bikes in order to slow down the cyclists with suspicious scores corresponding the level of suspiciousness. Even wih its flaws, a rare blood doper could go totally unpunished and if someone had high figures by a bad luck, his career wouldn't be ruined by a doping case.
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Re: Innovative Anti Doping Tests

21 Oct 2018 17:07

Aragon wrote:Even if the blood doping methods would be eliminated one-by-one, there are always some undetectable methods, for instance no present or imaginable direct approach to autotransfusions can' detect direct infusion from an identical twin because there are no storage components in the blood nor blood deterioration, it is just identical red fluid flowing from person A to person B.
Remember when it was said that certain teams were signing riders based on their blood type? Maybe the current 'vogue' for twins - Yates, Oliveira - will spark a new rumour if either of these two blood tests gets off the ground.
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22 Oct 2018 07:22

Doping versus anti-doping is its own competition, after a fashion.

One side has a game plan which it is required to both publish in advance to the world at large and to scrupulously abide by.

The other side has every scientific asset as does its opponent. Further, it knows its opponent's plans (because they were required to publish them). Unlike its opponent its game plan is secret and it has neither ethics nor any code to abide by. The only rule they adhere to is this: defeat the anti-dopers.

There is no winning for clean sport under these circumstances.
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Re: Innovative Anti Doping Tests

09 Nov 2018 15:13

fmk_RoI wrote:
Aragon wrote:Even if the blood doping methods would be eliminated one-by-one, there are always some undetectable methods, for instance no present or imaginable direct approach to autotransfusions can' detect direct infusion from an identical twin because there are no storage components in the blood nor blood deterioration, it is just identical red fluid flowing from person A to person B.
Remember when it was said that certain teams were signing riders based on their blood type? Maybe the current 'vogue' for twins - Yates, Oliveira - will spark a new rumour if either of these two blood tests gets off the ground.

There is also a brand new study on the use of low-dose cobalt as stimulant of RBC production, in which there was a small but statistically significant increase in totalHb whereas was no noticeable increase in Vo2Max or performance (the authors of are of the opinion that the improvement was real but gone in the other "noise" in that data).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6157393/

This is one the methods of which nobody knows how prevalent it is, I can recall only one athlete having been busted a year or two ago, but I have never read a first-hand account of its use. But if the alternative to rHuEPO is to overdose one's system with all kinds of vitamins and possibly toxic medals, one should at least think how good idea the ban is in the first place.
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09 Nov 2018 15:35

Cobalt has been in use in horse racing, hasn't it?
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Re:

09 Nov 2018 17:30

fmk_RoI wrote:Cobalt has been in use in horse racing, hasn't it?

A large portion of Google hits point to that direction.

The case I had in my mind was Austrian cross-country skier Harald Wurm who got a four-year ban in 2016. From the few news items, I get that there was no positive test but cobalt substance was found from his premises and he admitted having used it as a PED.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3507714/Austrian-cross-country-skier-Wurm-gets-4-year-ban-doping.html

As far as I can tell, the Wurm case is the only one thus far, but it would be interesting to know how prevalent problem it is today, because while the method of using cobalt to stimulate erythropoiesis has been known since the 1940's, anti-doping specialist Giuseppe Lippi warned about the substance as early as 2005 in one of his papers that many CN readers are familiar with:

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/39/11/872
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Re:

09 Nov 2018 17:47

fmk_RoI wrote:Cobalt has been in use in horse racing, hasn't it?

I wouldn't be surprised. I spent many years in horse racing, !976- early 2000's. I saw and heard of the most outrageous, unethical doping. The horses are guinea pigs for dope. First I heard of EPO use for race horses was around 1990. That's really minor compared to all the other stuff though. Pretty tragic.
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Re: Re:

09 Nov 2018 21:46

veganrob wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:Cobalt has been in use in horse racing, hasn't it?

I wouldn't be surprised. I spent many years in horse racing, !976- early 2000's. I saw and heard of the most outrageous, unethical doping. The horses are guinea pigs for dope. First I heard of EPO use for race horses was around 1990. That's really minor compared to all the other stuff though. Pretty tragic.


Yup it's very true, and horribly unethical. Much more so in my opinion than human doping to win at all costs. At least humans have a choice in the matter.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/racing/2017/09/19/bha-hand-owner-jockey-three-year-bans-doping-horse-cobalt/
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Re: Re:

10 Nov 2018 14:40

Aragon wrote:The case I had in my mind was Austrian cross-country skier Harald Wurm who got a four-year ban in 2016. From the few news items, I get that there was no positive test but cobalt substance was found from his premises and he admitted having used it as a PED.
It does seem unusual that we don't have cobalt positives, that the best example is possession and not use. I've vague recollections of cobalt being mentioned around here the odd time, around the time Xenon was in vogue. But like you I don't know of any athletes using it, my knowledge of it call comes from stories about horses.
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Re: Re:

10 Nov 2018 14:49

veganrob wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:Cobalt has been in use in horse racing, hasn't it?

I wouldn't be surprised. I spent many years in horse racing, !976- early 2000's. I saw and heard of the most outrageous, unethical doping. The horses are guinea pigs for dope. First I heard of EPO use for race horses was around 1990. That's really minor compared to all the other stuff though. Pretty tragic.
I once did an interview brief for Willy Vlautin's novel Lean on Pete and I think I shocked the presenter by suggesting he ask Vlautin about the descriptions of doping and related cruelty in the book (which is set largely around the tracks in Portland, Oregon), which included vodka (injected) and jet fuel (to burn off nerves). Plus, we also had that Cian O'Connor thing over here, and it's amazing how educted you can become when we're pulling down one of our own (it was like open season, the floodgates opened and all the stuff you couldn't be said because of the importance of Cheltenham and the Curragh just poured out for a few weeks). Other than that, I'm afraid that most of my knowledge of equine doping is about nobbling (which is why horse racing was so early to bring in not just bans for doping, but also actual testing - I have a vague recollection of reading somewhere that in the UK doping the monarch's horses was actually a capital crime, up there with treason, but I've never been able to find out if that was really true or just a bit of bollix).
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Re: Re:

Yesterday 12:53

fmk_RoI wrote:It does seem unusual that we don't have cobalt positives, that the best example is possession and not use. I've vague recollections of cobalt being mentioned around here the odd time, around the time Xenon was in vogue. But like you I don't know of any athletes using it, my knowledge of it call comes from stories about horses.

My impression is that there has been barely any published speculation about cobalt use and the method wasn't mentioned in the CIRC-report at all even when GW1506, AICAR and all the other stuff were mentioned of which there is also not that much solid evidence.

The use of rHuEPO was revealed very early on already in 1990 (Rob Pluijmers), so perhaps cobalt culture doesn't exist or the use of PEDs is more secretive now-than-ever because so much of other than AAFs can be used as evidence against the athletes (e.g. USADA vs. USPS).
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