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USADA’s 16th Annual Science Symposium Brings International Experts Together to Examine Critical Topics in Anti-Doping Science

Today marks the start of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s 16th Annual Symposium on Anti-Doping Science, a meeting of 100 of the world’s top anti-doping experts and academics from diverse fields whose collaboration will help advance current anti-doping science and shape the future of anti-doping research.

Gathering in Orlando, Florida, these invited experts will trade insights on anti-doping science by exploring the theme, “Pharmacokinetics and Detection Windows: Interpretation of Long Term Metabolism and Excretion.” While effective doping deterrence is associated with extending the detection window of prohibited substances, one of the key themes of the Symposium focuses on the balance between detecting ever-lower urine concentrations of prohibited substances and determining when an anti-doping rule violation has occurred. Understanding drug accumulation and long-term metabolism, and being able to model these physiological processes, will assist in shaping both anti-doping practice and research.

“The Symposium is the ideal forum to bring together global scientific experts and anti-doping practitioners to continually move the needle to stay at the forefront of doping detection and deterrence,” said Dr. Matthew Fedoruk, USADA’s Senior Managing Director of Science and Research. “Diving deep into a focused scientific issue with the help of the outside expert perspective allows for novel and collaborative solutions to the scientific challenges we face, which helps protect the integrity of sport and the rights of athletes.”

Over the course of three days, attendees will discuss pharmacokinetic modeling and interpretation, along with its application in anti-doping science, while also addressing related challenges and proposing solutions. This discussion will cover many of the substances that currently present challenges in anti-doping, including clenbuterol, mildronate, and selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs).

“Instrumental advances in separation science and mass spectrometry have allowed us to measure ultra-trace quantities of drug metabolites in urine,” noted Dr. Larry Bowers, USADA’s retired Chief Science Officer. “This year’s Symposium allows us to meet with colleagues from other fields, such as environmental toxicology, to inform each other about how to deal with the pharmacological aspects of these measurements.”


The first day of the Symposium will focus on basic pharmacokinetics, with Dr. Hugh Barton presenting the keynote address on various approaches to pharmacokinetic modeling, including physiology-based pharmacokinetics (PBPK). Dr. Sihem Bihorel will also discuss confounders of accumulation and elimination in drug pharmacokinetics, after which Dr. Ricardo Paxson, Dr. Dwaipayan Mukherjee, and Dr. Lesa Aylward will further explore drug accumulation and elimination, as well as how to model it.

Day two of the Symposium will feature sessions on long-lived metabolites and will include a presentation by Dr. Marilyn Huestis on the results of her research on cannabinoid pharmacology and pharmacokinetics after chronic frequent cannabis intake, in addition to presentations by Dr. Ron Flegel and Dr. Michael Kosnett. The afternoon sessions will then discuss long-lived metabolites of anabolic steroids, with a presentation on anabolic androgenic steroids by Dr. Wilhelm Schänzer and Dr. Christiane Ayotte, as well as a lecture on SARM metabolism by Dr. James Dalton. As part of a long-standing tradition, panel and participant discussions will follow the presentations.

On Saturday evening, the 2017 Symposium will also see the presentation of the 2nd Annual L.D. Bowers Excellence in Anti-Doping Science Award, which was created to recognize and award the achievements of scientists who have made an impact on anti-doping approaches and best practices.

The final morning of the Symposium will be devoted to scientific studies involving pharmacokinetics of prohibited substances and case reviews. Scientists from environmental toxicology, pharmacology, workplace drug testing, and anti-doping science will conclude by recommending research and programmatic steps to advance the science of anti-doping.

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