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PFCE perfluoro-carbon emulsions

Mar 13, 2009
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http://www.bikemagic.com/news/article/mps/uan/189

Epo may be out in the open but now a new doping controversy is brewing. Pfc — Artificial blood — can carry 50 times more oxygen than real blood and It's undetectable. but for cyclists, it may be lethal.

story: ian austen.

The post-EPO era in cycling began late in spring last year, on a back road in the Swiss canton of Ticino, when Mauro Gianetti slipped out of the back of the bunch in the Tour of Romandie and waved for the race ambulance. Gianetti was to spend the next fortnight fighting for his life in intensive care in hospital in Lausanne.

This was the event that brought perfluoro-carbon (PFC) to the notice of the cycling authorities. Gianetti is currently suing a Swiss doctor who treated him in the Lausanne hospital to which he was taken, over allegations that the drug was responsible for his illness. Gianetti himself blames a combination of stomach trouble and dehydration.

Whatever the truth of those particular allegations, the fact is that only a few days later, at the start of the Giro d'Italia in Nice, the Union Cycliste Internationale issued a letter to all the teams taking part warning them of the dangers of using PFC.

The Gianetti controversy was largely forgotten for the next couple of months, only to resurface in the Tour de France. It was then that the French press began talking to the men who had treated the Swiss rider - and they remained adamant, despite Gianetti's denials, that his illness was due to the use of the new drug.

Others maintained that Johan Museeuw's illness after his crash in Paris-Roubaix last year was due to use of PFC. The 1996 world champion was adamant in his denial.

So no-one knows for sure whether PFC is being used by professional cyclists. There was, though, the same kind of uncertainty with EPO until last July: that episode proved once again that in the fight against drugs in sport, the cheats are always one step ahead of the authorities.

Just as the 1998 Tour de France doping scandal is finally forcing the development of effective measures against EPO and other cloned hormones, PFC is just one of a whole new range of products that may soon make EPO and its ilk passé.

The new drugs, known as 'artificial blood', offer those seeking an illicit edge all the performance enhancement of EPO without the lag time, and at lower cost. Unfortunately, the potential for health problems among top athletes is equally dramatic.

Human experiments for legitimate uses of one blood substitute, made by the American drug giant Baxter, resulted in an unexpected number of unexplained deaths - despite careful supervision and supporting research.

The recent scares over blood tainted by HIV, CJD and other potentially devastating diseases have sparked a rush by drug companies to create a new form of the most vital of bodily fluids.

Without exception, all the substitutes so far in production perform the one task that is vital for performance enhancement - they deliver oxygen quickly to oxygen-starved muscles. None of them, though, are ambitious or inventive enough to attempt to recreate all the other vital functions of blood, including disease suppression and clotting.

Whatever the performance benefits, squirting fake blood into the veins of cyclists whose bodies are already under enormous stress would seem to be irresponsible in the extreme.

To date, only one blood substitute - PFC, the substance Gianetti is accused of using - has attracted any substantial notice in the cycling world. Gianetti spent the best part of a month in hospital after his initial scare, and only came back to racing late in the season. PFC is also the only fake blood that has so far received full approval for use on humans. Even so Dr Laurent Rivier, head of the Institute of Legal Medicine at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland's IOC-approved anti-doping lab, thinks PFC might be a waste of time and money for its illicit users. "The riders will not tell us why they use it," says Dr Rivier. "I am very doubtful of its value."

At first glance, PFC looks like a doper's dream. To start with, it can carry 50 times more oxygen than real blood in some circumstances. Mind-bogglingly, that means you can fill a beaker with oxygenated PFC, drop a mouse in it, and the mouse will stay alive even after its lungs have filled with the liquid.

Detection of PFC using current anti-doping controls is also impossible. It's expelled from the body by breathing rather than being passed in urine, and its use has no impact on red blood cell or haematocrit levels - the current, unsatisfactory, indicator used by the UCI to monitor EPO use.

But there is, of course, a catch. PFC is a chemical cousin of Teflon, that slippery substance used in non-stick frying pans and chain lubricants. So while that swimming mouse may not drown while paddling in the beaker, it might not come out in the best of health.

PFC has been transformed into synthetic blood to try to get around that problem, through some chemical manipulations and a degree of control over the level of exposure that users are subject to.

Generally, PFC can only be safely used for a couple of hours in relatively small quantities, usually between 500ml and one litre. Yet that strips away much of its dramatic oxygen-carrying power.

Patients using Fluosol, a brand of PFC approved for use during heart surgery, must also breath pure oxygen during surgery. Most doctors found that process so awkward that the product was pulled from the market because of poor sales in 1994.

Extra oxygen is also likely to be required for users of Oxycyte, an improved version of PFC that's likely to undergo human tests this year. Obviously, riders are unlikely to strap on cylinders of oxygen before heading out to sign on. And that's why Dr Rivier is sceptical about the value of PFC for abuse in sport. Either its abusers are taking dangerous doses or they're wasting their money.

"If this is something that is being used," says Dr Rivier, "it is still very rare." Nevertheless, Dr Rivier's lab, as well as the IOC's approved facility in Montreal, are developing methods to detect PFC.

Looking for a pure synthetic like PFC should be far easier than detecting cloned EPO, which is largely indistinguishable from that produced naturally by the body. By contrast, says Dr Rivier, "the body does not produce PFC, so far as we know."

Instead, his chief frustration is the agreement between riders and the UCI, preventing his lab from testing riders' blood for anything other than haematocrit levels and other EPO-related indicators - the infamous 50 per cent test. "We need to get access," says Dr Rivier pointedly. That may be coming. But it might, in any case, ultimately be irrelevant. The other major approach to artificial blood, which is nearing the market, may make PFC obsolete even before it catches on.

At least four companies are chasing a new plan that's compellingly simple: purified haemoglobin.

Haemoglobin molecules within red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout the body. As long ago as the early '80s, a US military project managed to remove pure haemoglobin from the red cells. But only now has a way of safely reintroducing modified haemoglobin into the bloodstream been devised.

The new development has given rise to several new products; three are currently undergoing tests on humans. They are packed into the same kind of intravenous bags now used for regular blood, and are administered in much the same way.

Best of all for both legitimate and illegitimate users, they are the height of convenience. A rider with a low haematocrit count could raise it instantly with an infusion - like adding oil to a car engine.

By comparison, EPO abuse is an extremely long and complicated process. Because the hormone only stimulates natural red cell production, it must be injected up to two weeks before competition. And, if deadly blood thickening is to be avoided, dosages have to be calculated using a formula based on body weight and a rider's programme.

As with any new product that has doping-abuse potential, the big question on modified haemoglobin is whether top athletes are actually using it. Privately, a top executive at one of the modified haematocrit makers acknowledges that there's great potential for abuse of his product by athletes. But Dr Rivier simply doesn't know what, if anything, is happening.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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..... Gianetti and Museeuw perfluoro-carbon emulsions episodes continued....

The only modified haematocrit approved for sale right now is made by BioPure in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and intended for animals - although, in theory, it could be used by illegally by humans. But even using the human product illicitly is something that should require serious thought - for safety reasons alone, if not for moral ones. At one time it looked as if Baxter's product, HemAssist, would be available for sale for human use by now. The company had, in fact, already built a factory in Switzerland to manufacture it.

Human trials on elective surgery patients went without a hitch. But when the company tried the product in hospital emergency rooms on trauma patients, such as cyclists who had been knocked down by motorists, they started to run into problems. Three patients using the product died to every control patient who didn't receive it. Baxter quickly junked HemAssist, restarted their programme by buying another company working on a similar product, and are now figuring out what to do with that $110 million factory.

The source of the trouble is still unclear. But the leading theory is that the products aren't suitable for patients in shock and under severe stress. Professional bike riders aren't in shock, but no one would argue that their bodies are in anything approaching a normal state during the middle of, say, a mountain stage in the Tour de France.

Whatever the potential danger, though, it still seems likely that the modified haemoglobin products' ability to boost the blood oxygen with little fuss and at relatively low cost will attract some illicit users. But, as yet, it doesn't appear that any IOC lab is attempting to develop a test. Of course, this is another doping abuse that only blood testing will establish.

But beyond that, the big problem is simply money. Despite all the post-Tour fuss, work in Canada on a test for EPO - for which Dr Rivier's lab conducted field tests of riders - remains stalled because funding is scarce for further large-scale tests on athletes. And Dr Rivier is already struggling to fund his other projects. "We have enough difficulties already with the PFCs," he says, and is consequently reluctant to take anything else on.

Dr Christiane Ayotte, head of the Institut de la Récherche Scientifique-Santé - an IOC-approved anti-doping lab near Montreal - believes athletes using PFC are either wasting their money or seriously risking their health.

"It's toxic," she says. "We are really surprised at some substances we find in athletes. It's just because it's an oxygen-carrying substance that some guru or trainer has thought about injecting it."

While its illicit use has not been studied, Dr Ayotte says papers on its legitimate use suggest that non-toxic doses of PFC offer little in the way of performance enhancement: in other words, it's of no use to athletes or cyclists unless they are prepared to use health-endangering quantities.

Dr Ayotte's lab is currently developing a testing programme for PFC, although it has encountered some bureaucratic delay in obtaining samples. Not wishing to scaremonger, she does admit that, at the moment no-one really has any idea about the extent of its illicit use. "It's difficult to know if it's used or not. There may be only one case."

She is certainly worried, though, about the potential for abuse offered by the modified haemoglobin drugs: "I may be getting cynical but this seems to be the way sport is going." Her fear is of a possible series of deaths from blood clots in otherwise healthy athletes.

As usual, the acid test of whether cycling and other sports are serious about controlling the escalation of doping will come down to putting hard cash behind the hand-wringing and pious promises.


Artificial blood is just one example of a medicine that has been abused by sportsmen to enhance performance - with potentially disastrous side-effects. But there are many others…

DHEA
Used medically to slow down the effects of ageing.
Used by sportsmen to enhance muscular development.
Side-effects: the same as other anabolic steroids - acne, migraines, nosebleeds, tendinitis, prostate cancer and, in the long term, death.

Creatine
Used medically to treat cardiac problems. Not banned, but the topic of intense debate.
In sportsmen, increases muscle strength, often in conjunction with anabolic steroids.
Side-effects can include liver and kidney problems.

Anticoagulants
Used medically to prevent blood clotting.
Used by sportsmen in conjunction with EPO to thin the blood. Not banned, because on their own they do not enhance performance.

Bronchiodilators
Used widely to treat and prevent asthma. Banned if found in large amounts.
Used by sportsmen as a stimulant because the main ingredient, salbutamol, is similar to adrenalin, and to increase respiratory powers.
Side-effects include headaches and digestive problems if taken to excess.

Testosterone
Administered medically to men whose testicles do not produce enough of the hormone.
Used by sportsmen as an anabolic steroid, to increase muscular mass. Weightlifters have been rumoured to take up to 250 times the normal medical dose.
Side-effects include acne and low sperm count.

Trinitrin
Medical use is as a blood vessel dilator and heart stimulant to treat and prevent angina.
Sportsmen apparently use it for explosive events as it reduces warm-up time.
Side-effects include headaches, nausea and high blood pressure.



For an athlete, it's a naturally occurring hormone with an undeniably alluring promise: more muscle, less fat. In short, it's a substitute for steroids that's completely undetectable with any current anti-doping test. But Insulin Growth Factor 1, or IGF-1, has so far attracted little of the scrutiny heaped upon EPO since the Tour scandal.

Despite IGF-1's low profile, no-one doubts that it's being used in sport. Last autumn, the doctor for the Australian national track team acknowledged that his riders were receiving a milk product containing the banned substance - a situation that the team insists doesn't violate the IOC ban on the hormone. And there's no coyness about IGF-1 in the bodybuilding world - it's openly touted in magazines and on the Internet as the next wonderdrug and a 'natural' alternative to steroids.

IGF-1 is a hormonal cousin of the better-known Human Growth Hormone. In fact, in natural circumstances HGH stimulates its production within the body. In the medical world, cloned IGF-1 is used, or being studied, for treating dwarfism in children, some forms of diabetes, wasting in AIDS patients and physical degeneration of people with non-functioning pituitary glands.

Like EPO, IGF-1 evades all current anti-doping measures because it is a clone of a naturally occurring human hormone and its levels vary wildly even over the course of a single day.

Legality aside, does it fulfil its promise for athletes interested in a needle-induced performance boost? Despite all the hype in the bodybuilding world, no-one really knows for sure. Dr Christiane Ayotte, head of the IOC-approved anti-doping lab in Canada, says the lack of recognised research about IGF-1's effects on athletes could mean that, as with many drugs, its power may be grossly exaggerated.

"Sure, you can probably find some paper published in Bulgaria. But is that a reason to inject it in athletes?" What's more, much of what is being sold as IGF-1 in the United States does not appear to be a clone of the human hormone. Exactly what those products are is a mystery, as US law excludes so-called dietary supplements from any kind of government testing or regulatory scrutiny.

But even if it's pure, IGF-1 has some frightening potential problems. It can cause brain swelling, coronary artery disease and enlarged hearts, and induce diabetic comas. There are unproven fears that prolonged use could lead to cancers of the soft body tissues. The real stuff is also hugely expensive, even without black market mark-ups. Medical patients in the United States can spend up to $20,000 a year on the drug.

Don't despair if you're short of cash and not interested in an early death. There is a cheap and risk-free way to boost your IGF-1 levels: training.
 
May 13, 2009
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Thanks blackcat for the article. I think it is very well researched. Clearly the early use of PFCEs by Gianetti was an unmitigated disaster. And at the time the article was written, EPO was still undetectable and certainly the best and safest choice for blood doping. The only handle to check was the 50% crit test.

The world has changed since then. A few facts:
1) EPO is detectable. It is not clear down to which level, so microdosing might still be possible
2) Next generation EPO products such as Mircera (CERA) are also detectable. In fact, the manufacturer shared information about it at an early stage of development, such that WADA scientists could develop a test in short time.
3) Most importantly: Riders don't ride at 49.5% crit level any more. We know that because of the passport. However, calculated power outputs, times for HC climbs, race speeds etc. have remained at the same level as 5-10 year ago.

The last point is what makes BB go through his transfuse+drain mantra. I'm skeptical because of the level of messiness and the time constraints involved in this (and I find his Coke can rant implausible). For me, it seems to indicate that EPO-type PEDs use shortly before or during a GT is not done any more. Also, we have Kohl telling us that he thought it was too dangerous to do anything but transfusions during the TdF (well he used CERA, which he thought was undetectable, but that's likely no longer an option). Most likely EPO type PEDs (microdosing) are only used in training sessions, when you drain blood for later use. One interesting speculation is whether slightly modified EPO/CERA products exist for which the WADA test isn't sensitive. However, the generally lower crit values seem to point against that.

Now, what I said in the other thread is still true. O2 carrying capacity is still the limit for aerobe power output (endurance sports). So, how can you post similar times for HC climbs and develop similar power outputs today as in the 50% crit era? Logic suggests the answer is artificial O2 carriers such as PFCEs or HBOCs. I cannot come to any other conclusion with my current knowledge.

Maybe we're thinking too far and the effect of transfusions themselves is sufficient to explain the current level of riding and the crit value itself isn't the all important marker. Maybe that's the whole story of Kohl. But then again, he was on a minor team and looked really, really spent.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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They are detectable in blood tests. At least the most prominent ones are. I think the test only works for a short time after they are taken though. I question if they work or not. With all the blood tests taken athletes are not testing positive for them. That has lead researchers to believe their use isn't widespread.
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2657498

They could be using HIF stabilizers or some other kind of gene therapy. It's a pill that causes the body to produce EPO when it's low on oxygen and is undetectable. I'm not sure what effect it would have on biopassport parameters.
 
May 13, 2009
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Epicycle said:
They are detectable in blood tests. At least the most prominent ones are. I think the test only works for a short time after they are taken though. I question if they work or not. With all the blood tests taken athletes are not testing positive for them. That has lead researchers to believe their use isn't widespread.
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2657498

They could be using HIF stabilizers or some other kind of gene therapy. It's a pill that causes the body to produce EPO when it's low on oxygen and is undetectable. I'm not sure what effect it would have on biopassport parameters.

Epicycle: Your link is about detection of EPO not detection of non-RBC O2 carriers. That said, there are of course possibilities to test for the presence of PFCEs and HBOCs in blood tests. I wonder though, whether any such procedures have ever been used in the last, say, 5 years.

HIF stabilizers more or less will stimulate RBC production. So, their use should be obvious in posting increased crit values. Such stuff should be picked up by the passport.** Also I wouldn't call HIF stabilizers 'gene therapy'.

Remember that riders aren't posting 49.5% crits any more.

By the way, the thread is named PFCEs and I know I talked a lot about PFCEs in the other thread as examples of artificial O2 carriers, but HBOCs are actually much more likely used, mostly because they've come further along in clinical applications. We shouldn't forget about them.

**Here I assume that blood tests to determine crit values are not announced such that you cannot dilute down prior to a test to your 'regular' crit value the way BB claims.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Cobblestones said:
Epicycle: Your link is about detection of EPO not detection of non-RBC O2 carriers. That said, there are of course possibilities to test for the presence of PFCEs and HBOCs in blood tests. I wonder though, whether any such procedures have ever been used in the last, say, 5 years.

I know it's a paper on EPO but if you look near the bottom of the paper it mentions that HBOCs have been extensively tested for in athlete's blood and not much comes up. I could look for the actual research but I don't have the time today.

It's really tough to know what effect HIF stabilizers in the doping setting will have on hematocrit until it's been tested. Obviously athletes will take the effect on blood parameters into account.

Yes HIF stabilizers aren't technically gene therapy but they do activate genes which separates them from exogenous hormone administration.
 
Jun 23, 2009
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Thanks Blackcat for those articles - I came over from the other thread. I never knew of that story with Gianetti - that is insane.

Based on the articles is seems to me that the dangers are much higher for the PFCE's than the reward given however, different people react differently to different products and methods. Perhaps some can benefit while some cannot?

This is very interesting stuff and we may never know the mystery, but hopefully one day an in depth look can be given on the practices.

Speeds have stayed around the same for the GT's, but riders crit's have come down. I hate to say it but BB's theory about hemodiluting makes a little sense in this simple example.

Even with gene doping, wouldn't a natural increase of red blood cells still raise the crit? Obviously there is an important piece of the puzzle that we can't figure out and some scientist has.
 
May 13, 2009
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Epicycle said:
I know it's a paper on EPO but if you look near the bottom of the paper it mentions that HBOCs have been extensively tested for in athlete's blood and not much comes up. I could look for the actual research but I don't have the time today.

It's really tough to know what effect HIF stabilizers in the doping setting will have on hematocrit until it's been tested. Obviously athletes will take the effect on blood parameters into account.

Yes HIF stabilizers aren't technically gene therapy but they do activate genes which separates them from exogenous hormone administration.

Ah, I saw it now, the last sentence of the conclusion.

Again, what I said above, the world has changed. When they tested for HBOCs, EPO-type products were the safest, best way of blood doping. This is no longer true. Also, your article mentions changes in doping practices, from transfusions in the 70s, to EPO in the late 80, to homologous transfusions around 2004 to autologous transfusions now. So why not a return to HBOCs?

Here's what doesn't make sense to me. Fact is, that at the end of the 1980s, when EPO was 'discovered' for cycling, not only did transfusions stop, also the performance of athletes went through the roof. Of course I can understand why riders would switch from transfusions to EPO. It's safer, simpler etc. and you can get a higher crit in a simpler way than by transfusions, hence more power output. What I cannot understand is that now, when riders are back to transfusions, you'd expect a level of riding pre-1990. More like the 1970s early-mid 1980s. But that's not the case. The level of riding hasn't gone done much. We're missing a piece of the puzzle.

I conjecture the missing piece could be non-RBC O2 carriers. But I'm only speculating. I have no insider information. It could be something else entirely. Anyway, I have laid out the reasoning why I come to this conclusion. Feel free to poke holes anywhere. The presence of a test for HBOCs is a fair argument in that respect. However, I wonder if it's still applied or not.

Also, I would be very interested in any other speculation, as long as it is consistent with facts we know. And of course, you'd have to expect me to poke holes in it, too.
 
Cobblestones said:
Ah, I saw it now, the last sentence of the conclusion.

Again, what I said above, the world has changed. When they tested for HBOCs, EPO-type products were the safest, best way of blood doping. This is no longer true. Also, your article mentions changes in doping practices, from transfusions in the 70s, to EPO in the late 80, to homologous transfusions around 2004 to autologous transfusions now. So why not a return to HBOCs?

Here's what doesn't make sense to me. Fact is, that at the end of the 1980s, when EPO was 'discovered' for cycling, not only did transfusions stop, also the performance of athletes went through the roof. Of course I can understand why riders would switch from transfusions to EPO. It's safer, simpler etc. and you can get a higher crit in a simpler way than by transfusions, hence more power output. What I cannot understand is that now, when riders are back to transfusions, you'd expect a level of riding pre-1990. More like the 1970s early-mid 1980s. But that's not the case. The level of riding hasn't gone done much. We're missing a piece of the puzzle.

I conjecture the missing piece could be non-RBC O2 carriers. But I'm only speculating. I have no insider information. It could be something else entirely. Anyway, I have laid out the reasoning why I come to this conclusion. Feel free to poke holes anywhere. The presence of a test for HBOCs is a fair argument in that respect. However, I wonder if it's still applied or not.

Also, I would be very interested in any other speculation, as long as it is consistent with facts we know. And of course, you'd have to expect me to poke holes in it, too.

That looks like good reasoning to me.

Let's attack one of the premises: That performance levels are roughly the same. Are they? The comparisons between Tours of the last twenty years that I have seen usually rely on an estimated rider+bike weight. What if riders are lighter?

To my eye some the riders are looking freaky thin, even for bike racers. They certainly look thinner than riders of twenty years ago. I am not sure about the last ten years. Horner mentioned that he was a whopping ten pounds lighter than his usual race weight this year. There are various drugs that can be used in training to cut weight.
 
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Cobblestones said:
=ago.

The last point is what makes BB go through his transfuse+drain mantra. I'm skeptical because of the level of messiness and the time constraints involved in this (and I find his Coke can rant implausible).t.

Actually thats what Matt Decanio attestified to on one of his Italian teams, they'd drain blood into pop cans and dump it if their crit was to high. Thats where I got that story.

PFCs have been tested for I believe... No doubt Lance & Cancellara are using other 02 carrier boosting besides just blood doping. Could be something like this. Blood doping gives by far the biggest bang tho.
 
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a little off subject but creatine was mentioned i would have to disagree about it being unsafe there are numerous studies on numerous athletes coming from different sports all i have read show no safety issue within reason. tens of thousands of people use creatine frequently. of course water is deadly in high doses so creatine should not be in the same post as anabolic steroids imo. also dhea may or may not be a good idea but death was listed as a side effect again not likely lol.
 
A

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A few years ago I had a vet look into obtaining artificial blood for one of my dogs, who had become transfusion-sensitive after several operations.

Even for a top Sydney research/teaching vet hospital, it was impossible to obtain.

Things might be different in the USA and Europe, of course, but I suspect this stuff is just not easy to find.

Plus, a half-litre of it in your bloodstream is going to show up like dog's balls on any sort of scan. The article is wrong that testers are only allowed to do a haematocrit test - once they have a sample of your blood, they can look for anything they like, as Tyler Hamilton found.

I have no doubt that professional sportspeople are still using anything they think they can get away with and that the war on drugs in sports is having teh same roaring success as the war on drugs in society in general, but I doubt artificial oxygen carriers are in wide use.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I first heard of this in Pop Sci

This stuff is old and is easily detected. That article is old and there is a lot of blood testing since it was written.
I read about this years ago in a science magazine as a promising blood replacement. Never turned out that well, as I read here in this thread.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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John Stevenson said:
A few years ago I had a vet look into obtaining artificial blood for one of my dogs, who had become transfusion-sensitive after several operations.

Even for a top Sydney research/teaching vet hospital, it was impossible to obtain.

Things might be different in the USA and Europe, of course, but I suspect this stuff is just not easy to find.

Plus, a half-litre of it in your bloodstream is going to show up like dog's balls on any sort of scan. The article is wrong that testers are only allowed to do a haematocrit test - once they have a sample of your blood, they can look for anything they like, as Tyler Hamilton found.

I have no doubt that professional sportspeople are still using anything they think they can get away with and that the war on drugs in sports is having teh same roaring success as the war on drugs in society in general, but I doubt artificial oxygen carriers are in wide use.

We used Oxyglobin occasionally when I worked at the University of Sydney, but this was back a few years now. We can get it by special order in Canada. For medical purposes, it is very useful. Studies in sheep show that you can support oxygen carrying capacity with a hematocrit as low as 2%!
 
forty four said:
draining blood to lower crit come on.:confused: drinking a gallon of water will do that.
Not in fifteen minutes.

And in BigB's scenario, the drained blood can be used at a later time to jack. Something water won't do. Not saying this happens as much as he does, just elaborating.

John Stevenson said:
A few years ago I had a vet look into obtaining artificial blood for one of my dogs...Even for a top Sydney research/teaching vet hospital, it was impossible to obtain.

How much money did you offer?

Not trying to be blunt, just open up another avenue of consideration for discussion. Here's another, wilder one: Maybe you couldn't get any, as all supplies were already purchased by athletes?!

BTW, good to see you here John. Hope you can post more in between work.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Cobblestones said:
Here's what doesn't make sense to me. Fact is, that at the end of the 1980s, when EPO was 'discovered' for cycling, not only did transfusions stop, also the performance of athletes went through the roof. Of course I can understand why riders would switch from transfusions to EPO. It's safer, simpler etc. and you can get a higher crit in a simpler way than by transfusions, hence more power output. What I cannot understand is that now, when riders are back to transfusions, you'd expect a level of riding pre-1990. More like the 1970s early-mid 1980s. But that's not the case. The level of riding hasn't gone done much. We're missing a piece of the puzzle.

I don't think we are. As has been discussed on this forum there is no evidence for widespread transfusions during the 1980s. Of course there are anecdotes like Moser's hour record and the US team in the 1984 Olympics but nothing that states it was rampant and certainly nothing about transfusions during stage races. You'd think if it did effect results in a big way there would be many accounts of it, so much other stuff has come out from that time. Obviously blood doping using transfusions isn't new, there is even speculation that Anquetil tried it in the 1960s, but I think it probably took the EPO era to flip the switch. The dependence on EPO led to rethinking blood transfusions and working them into an improved practice that you didn't have during the 1980s.
 
Jul 3, 2009
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Firstly thanks to all the previous posters for a very informative and interesting thread.

While I don't pretend to be any kind of authority on the subject, and much of what has been discussed here is news to me, I would just like to ask about the proliferation of transfusions during the '80's.

As a youngster in the early '70's I was heavily into running and long distance/cross country in particular. I remember being blown away by the performance of Finnish runner Lasse Viren at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. His 'near miss' at doing the legendary treble of 5000m (Gold), 10000m (Gold) and Marathon(5th place) was later attributed to the use of 'blood doping' by way of removing blood then re-introducing it prior to the event, Viren eventually received a ban for using this procedure.

Surely this would point to the use of similar procedures in cycling at around this time given the cross pollination of doping ideas between endurance based sports. Is it fair to say that blood transfusions were being used by riders in the early/mid 70's?

I realise that this might seem like a stupid question to many on here but as I said I don't pretend to be an authority on the subject so I would appreciate someone taking the time to 'humour me'...thanks.
 
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Various members of the 1984 US Olympic cycling team admitted to 'blood boosting' as it was known at the time.

If memory serves, though, it wasn't against the rules at the time.
 
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Epicycle said:
I don't think we are. As has been discussed on this forum there is no evidence for widespread transfusions during the 1980s. Of course there are anecdotes like Moser's hour record and the US team in the 1984 Olympics but nothing that states it was rampant and certainly nothing about transfusions during stage races. You'd think if it did effect results in a big way there would be many accounts of it, so much other stuff has come out from that time. Obviously blood doping using transfusions isn't new, there is even speculation that Anquetil tried it in the 1960s, but I think it probably took the EPO era to flip the switch. The dependence on EPO led to rethinking blood transfusions and working them into an improved practice that you didn't have during the 1980s.

EPO and transfusions go hand in hand.

Because of preservative issues, and cells dying in 100 days (rough number) and the body taking more than that time to replenish up to 100%, the gains were limited. The body gains most of the capacity back within the month, but it never gets to 100% for a few months, it is non-linear, from my understanding. With cells dying, and preservative issues, plus training on sub capacity, that rendered blood doping moot except in certain cases like one day events like the hour, and the track pursuits.

qualification: lay person alert!
 
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Alpe d'Huez said:
How much money did you offer?

Wasn't an issue, it just couldn't be had, full stop.

Alpe d'Huez said:
Not trying to be blunt, just open up another avenue of consideration for discussion. Here's another, wilder one: Maybe you couldn't get any, as all supplies were already purchased by athletes?!

I think we're through the looking glass now. The illicit market for PEDs is still very small compared to the legit market. Perhaps not for Oxyglobin, which is a fairly unusual treatment even in animal medicine (200,000 units sold in the US and EU since 1998, according to Biopure's website), but certainly for, say, EPO.

Alpe d'Huez said:
BTW, good to see you here John. Hope you can post more in between work.

Thanks; I'l be dipping in and out now and then.
 
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John Stevenson said:
I think we're through the looking glass now. The illicit market for PEDs is still very small compared to the legit market. Perhaps not for Oxyglobin, which is a fairly unusual treatment even in animal medicine (200,000 units sold in the US and EU since 1998, according to Biopure's website), but certainly for, say, EPO.

I would agree that the PED market is marginal in percentage and gross terms.

However, this is gonna contradict what I just stated. I still stand by that, and what you wrote. But the devil's advocate is in the EPO shipments Danish customs have been seizing. Ridiculous numbers, if one assumes they are legit and not inflated for political purposes.

Who uses EPO in big doses as a PED in Denmark? Nordic skiiers and cyclists. The swimmers and runners who use it would have to be negligble.

I look at cycling, and even accounting for amateur usage in masters racing in the US, I find it hard to fathom more than two thousand cyclists would be taking a regular dose of EPO. It really would have to be quite warped amateurs to be taking EPO, and I think the pros who are taking it are in the minority.

So how does Danish customs seize such numbers? (sorry for not getting the link, too lazy)
 
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blackcat said:
EPO and transfusions go hand in hand.

Because of preservative issues, and cells dying in 100 days (rough number) and the body taking more than that time to replenish up to 100%, the gains were limited. The body gains most of the capacity back within the month, but it never gets to 100% for a few months, it is non-linear, from my understanding. With cells dying, and preservative issues, plus training on sub capacity, that rendered blood doping moot except in certain cases like one day events like the hour, and the track pursuits.

qualification: lay person alert!

The point you're missing is that I don't think they had a test for homologous transfusions then, so no need to use your 'own juice'. Remember that was before HIV and way before the CJS scare.

I agree that today, since only autologous transfusions are considered undetectable (and even that might change), transfusions+EPO-type products go hand in hand. Not in the 1970s.

BroDeal: It's a fair point to make. What if the W/kg is the same as in the 1970s (same PED technique) but the rider's weights went down? This would mean higher speeds and faster climbs. Do we have data on body weight to compare? For anecdotal evidence, we've all seen the Ras photo. He looked like a holocaust survivor in May 1945. So, yeah, a distinct possibility. It would fit with what LA claims, that he's lighter than ever before (although he doesn't look like it). So, we'd have to look for something which decreases body mass (whoa can you imagine the market for that) most likely even upper body muscles. Think what Ullrich could have done with that :D
 
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The other consideration for W/kg calculations is the weight of the bike. Bikes are obviously much lighter now than 20-30 years ago.