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.fmk_RoI said: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.
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.Aragon said: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.
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).fmk_RoI said: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.Aragon said: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.
A large portion of Google hits point to that direction.fmk_RoI said:
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.fmk_RoI said:
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.veganrob said: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.fmk_RoI said:
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.Aragon said: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.
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).veganrob said: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.fmk_RoI said:
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.fmk_RoI said: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.
Daniel Friebe posted a French article earlier today in which Nicolas Leuenberger, of the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses attached to the University Center Romand Medicine Légale, is said to be using the technique to spot O2 vector doping focusing on a specific RNA molecule found only in young blood cells. If Leuenberger's test actually works, as well as speeding up sample collection in the field (and thus reducing costs), it could also be used on stored samples. (The linked article is v light on details and, really, dried blood spot plus RNA is pretty much all there is in it that I could spot.)The UCI – with the support of the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated to define and lead the strategy on anti-doping testing and investigations in our sport – took samples mainly at the finish line of races. Tests were carried out using the Dried Blood Spots (DBS) reference method. Developed by the Swiss company DBS Systems, sampling kits were used to conduct this minimally invasive test, which involves collecting a small amount of blood from the rider's fingertip.
Oh, and bonus link for another thread: Pistaldis and the sub-two hour marathon. A man's gotta eat and you can't dine out on the one soon-to-be-delivered ground-breaking breakthrough forever.Pitsiladis and his team specifically examine the behaviour of RNA molecules within the human genome, which transfer – or transcribe, to use the scientific term – instructions from DNA to bodily systems, effectively telling them how to work. This applies to everything from hair growth to the production of red-blood cells.
RNA will respond to whatever factor is working on the body, whether external or internal, including temperature, exercise, altitude and various forms of drugs. “The results have been better than we expected,” Pitsiladis said. “Even the smallest amount of EPO has a significant effect on genetic activity.”
The effect is so marked that, by examining the change in the genetic signatures over time, Pitsiladis is able to estimate when the blood was manipulated and roughly on what scale doping is taking place. “The athletes who are cheating will follow carefully tailored regimes, taking the drug at certain points in their training and at certain intervals,” Pitsiladis said. “If we can begin to establish the pattern then we are a step closer to catching them.”
And this on the shades of Theranos that some of us automatically think of when we see DBS mentioned:We started looking into technologies that were being developed here in the U.S. that allowed us to collect blood more easily in a noninvasive way, more athlete-friendly collection devices. And we stumbled upon a couple of companies that have been working on these devices that essentially collect a small amount of blood from the capillary blood beds in your skin. You put these devices on your arm or your leg or some other area of your body that has good perfusion, and you press a button and a small amount of blood can be collected.
One of them is Seventh Sense Bio[systems]. They’re an outfit out of Boston. They’ve developed this device called TAP, which stands for touch activated phlebotomy. That’s the main device we’ve been testing. And there’s another device called Tasso that works under a very similar principle but isn’t quite as painless as the TAP device. We’ve been piloting both of those devices just to see how they work and what the benefits and limitations of them are.
One interesting change of tone in the interview is on the use of algorithms and AI, which could mean that USADA are finally listening to Greg LeMond on the need to look at performance indicators and not just biomarkers:We need to be really careful. One, you can’t overpromise, and two, that the science needs to be vetted properly in order to make sure that the methods work properly. I think that’s where Theranos fell over, is that they were promising this revolutionary technology, but yet in practice the science didn’t fit and they weren’t actually measuring what they said they were, and the number of analytes they were promising in a single spot was grossly overestimated. That’s why having multiple entities working on the dry blood spot, making sure that we roll it out to our athletes, that we’re publishing in peer reviewed journals, that this stuff is transparent is really important.
The rest of the interview is worth atleast glancing over, it covers familiar stuff (Russia, gene doping) but there's nuggets of info in it, I think.We have a great opportunity in delivering a higher level of sophistication through understanding of things like athlete performance and developing more sophisticated mathematical algorithms to predict when an athlete’s performance trajectory is either peaking too early or going too steep compared to their past performances. There’s a lot more that we could be doing as an anti-doping community and taking those cues from other industries that we’re starting to look into: things like artificial intelligence and machine learning are areas that the consumer industry and the insurance industry and others are using already. How can we learn how to use them more effectively in anti-doping?
And even it the validation somehow cannot happen in the nine months between now and the Games - nine months? Tons of time! - the IOC wand to use Pitsiladis to scare athletes straight:“With research on genetic sequencing progressing well, this new approach could be a groundbreaking method to detect blood doping, weeks or even months after it took place,” Bach told the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Katowice, Poland.
“If approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency such gene testing could be used at the Tokyo Olympics. These new methods will again strengthen deterrence. We want the cheats to never feel safe, anytime or anywhere.”
Okay, come on, put your vote where your faith is and we'll check back in come July: sad-face this post if you reckon there's no way in hell Pitsiladis can get his test validated before Tokyo, thumbs-up if you actually believe it's a goer.Even if the test is not validated in time for Tokyo 2020, the IOC intends to store more samples so they can analyse them in the future. “This will add to the fact the pre-Games testing programme will be the most extensive programme ever, aimed to maximise both detection and deterrence,” Bach said.
Didn't Anquetil and Merckx pretty much admit to some form of doping?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.
Merckx had a positive /w a one month suspension and he later on had one of those weak confessions where they say: I did something wrong. I trusted a doctor.Didn't Anquetil and Merckx pretty much admit to some form of doping?
(Fun bit of anti-doping history for you: testing is commonly thought to date back to the 1910s, when Polish pharmacist Alfons Bukowski developed a saliva test for horses.)A major benefit of oral fluid testing is that it has the potential to detect in-competition prohibited substances, such as stimulants or cannabinoids, very close to their use and/or exposure. Accordingly, this may minimize the potential scenario where a substance prohibited in-competition only, that was used out-of-competition, would be detected during an in-competition test.
There was evidence of rHuEPO use at both the Calgary & Seoul Olympics. Perhaps experimental use starting in the 1988 cycling season?Haven't seen this program mentioned yet at the Clinic, but "Partnership for Clean Competition" has its podcast which features (among other topics) interviews now-and-then researchers who develop tests for anti-doping purposes such as a dried blood spots, OMICS approach to detect blood doping etc:
More Podcasts Below Support This Podcast Interested in sponsoring the Anti-Doping Podcast or have a guest recommendation? Support the Anti-doping Podcast Interested in sponsoring the Anti-Doping Podcast or have a guest recommendation?cleancompetition.org
Very accessible and has some interesting topics, but I can't say I learned that much from the handful I've listened thus far, e.g. the AMGEN scientist who developed rHuEPO even mentioned something about having heard rumours of cyclists using the hormone in the late-1980s and it would've been interesting to know where the rumours originated from etc. instead of him spending minutes to tell the details of the ABP program.