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A nonprofit launched in 2008, the Partnership for Clean Competition (PCC) is committed to advancing high-quality anti-doping research and development. The PCC, which empowers independent research by experts across a variety of scientific disciplines, is the result of a collaboration between the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the National Football League, and Major League Baseball. These organizations were later joined by the National Hockey League and the PGA TOUR.

In 2017, the PCC launched the Translational Research Fund (TRF) to facilitate the adoption of PCC-supported developments at anti-doping laboratories worldwide. Through the TRF, the PCC has invested in three projects that have the potential to significantly impact anti-doping testing and analysis in order to improve both detection and deterrence of performance-enhancing drugs. While still under development, these innovations could benefit athletes and anti-doping efforts worldwide in the months and years to come.

Here is what you need to know about the PCC’s big three:

Breath Analysis

In 2016, the PCC used its micro-grant program to help Dr. Mario Thevis determine if the Sensabues Exhaled Breath technology could be applied in an anti-doping setting. Investigation revealed that the Swedish technology can accurately detect prohibited substances in several classes of the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List, which means it could become a complementary method to urine and blood testing. Having completed pilot studies to confirm detection windows and limits, the PCC will now conduct field trials with device prototypes to analyze device features, evaluate ease of use, compare the method with oral fluid collections, and identify potential issues.

If fully validated, breath testing could become an inexpensive and less invasive collection method for in-competition testing. Not only would athletes be able to quickly complete a test with a simple exhale, anti-doping agencies would also save on transportation, analysis, and collection costs.

Read more about the project here.

Dried Plasma Spot Cards

With research started by Dr. Jack Henion in 2014, Dr. Imelda Ryona and the PCC are now working to create Dried Plasma Spot (DPS) cards, which are designed to facilitate micro plasma samples without the need for centrifugation or other laboratory techniques for producing plasma. The cards are being evaluated as an efficient option for the collection, transport, and analysis of dried blood and plasma.

While 2,500 cards are currently being produced to facilitate additional testing, DPS testing could eventually enable less invasive out-of-competition blood testing.

Read more about the project here.

IRMS Steroidome Testing

Led by Dr. Tom Brenna and Dr. Herbert Tobias, the PCC’s isotope-ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) steroidome project is looking to improve the efficiency and accuracy of steroid detection in urine. After developing their breakthrough concept of combining 2D Gas Chromatography (GCxGC) with IRMS, the researchers led efforts to design and manufacture specialized equipment that could endure the high temperatures needed for broad, accurate isotope analyses of steroids and other prohibited substances.

Although additional phases are still in progress, including evaluation of a micro-reactor prototype, IRMS steroidome testing could increase analysis efficiency and decrease detection limits, which would allow labs to routinely test for multiple performance-enhancing drugs.

Read more about the project here.

For more information about the PCC and its projects, visit: www.cleancompetition.org.