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USADA Announces Three 2004 Research Grant Recipients

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) awarded three grants in the first quarter 2004 in the fight against doping, USADA Senior Managing Director Larry Bowers announced Tuesday.

The University of California at San Diego received $447,604 for a three-year project titled “Gene Expression and Proteomic Effects of IGF-1 in the Mouse.” Under the direction of Dr. Theodore Friedman, this proposal applies the tools of gene expression and analysis to characterize the global effects of administration of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the mouse as a model system for understanding the action of IGF-1 in the human.  IGF-1 is a growth factor and an indicator of bioavailable growth hormone in the human body.

“We plan to use information that we obtain about the effects of drugs on genes to further develop screening tests that utilize markers of drug action rather than measuring the drugs themselves,” said Dr. Friedmann.

The University of Utah’s Center for Human Toxicology received a $175,000 grant for the project named “Human Urinary Steroid profiles after exposure to Non-Physiologic Steroids and Prohormones Found in Dietary Supplements.” The proposed research will characterize the unique and dynamic human urinary steroid metabolite profile(s) after exposure to selected prohormones and synthetic anabolic steroids. Data from these studies will help to define the best metabolites to measure in the urine to be able to detect use of these prohibited substances for the longest period.  The study will also assist in the interpretation of drug test results from doping control programs.

“This will be an exciting opportunity to work with USADA to determine the impact of non-physiologic steroid precursors on the testing process,” said Diana Wilkins, co-director and research associate professor center for human toxicology.

The third grant was awarded to Dr. Richard Zare at Stanford University for his proposal “A Novel Method for the Detection of Exogenous Erythropoietin in Human Urine.” The two-year, $135,689 grant uses a combination of on-line affinity chromatography, capillary electrophoresis, and mass spectrometry to make precise identification and to distinguish between synthetic and human EPO. This analytical procedure relies upon a new column packing material will be used to attach antibodies that will specifically extract EPO from the urine.  The various isoforms of EPO will then be separated on by capillary electrophoresis and their mass fingerprint determined by mass spectrometry.  The novel aspect to this research is the potential for automation of the sample analysis.  The technique should complement the presently used isoelectric focusing analysis.

“My graduate student, Evan Pearce, who is an avid bicyclist, and I are very excited to be joining the USADA in the fight against doping in sports contests,” said Dr. Zare. “We believe that our methods, should they prove to be successful, will become an important tool for creating fairness in sport.”

Annually, USADA budgets $2 million for anti-doping research. The announcements of grant funding occur on a quarterly basis, and a number of proposals are currently under review.

USADA is the independent anti-doping agency for Olympic sports in the United States, and is responsible for managing the testing and adjudication process for U.S. Olympic, Pan Am and Paralympic athletes. USADA is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.

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