The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) awarded three additional research grants in the fourth quarter 2002 in the fight against doping, USADA Senior Managing Director Larry Bowers announced Friday.
In all, USADA awarded eight grants for almost $2 million for 2002, and USADA has awarded in excess of $2 million overall due to the fact that some of the grant proposals are multiple-year projects.
“We are excited about the proposals and interest we are receiving from the research community in the United States as well as on a global basis, and we anticipate additional grants to be awarded during the first quarter of 2003,” said Bowers. “The grants we have awarded so far have set a strong foundation for the fight against doping on the world scene.”
One research grant was awarded to Dr. Peter Sonksen and Dr. Richard Holt of the University of Southampton in Great Britain. The grant is named “The Development of a Methodology for Detecting Abuse with Growth Hormone in Sport: GH 2004.” The expected results from the project will scientifically support a test for growth hormone at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The grant total is $1 million and extends over an 18-month period. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is expected to fund an additional phase of this project.
In addition, the Institute of BioAnalytics (Branford, Conn.) will receive $250,000 for its grant proposal entitled ”Development and Validation of Immunoassays for Growth Hormone Markers in Blood Serum.” The grant will assist validation on a multi-channel analyzer that can measure many analytes simultaneously, and “has great potential for future development in the labs,” according to Bowers.
The third research grant was awarded to the Institute of Hematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown, Australia for their grant entitled “Development of a Test or Tests to Deter the Abuse of Blood Transfusion in Sport. The grant focuses on the development of confirmation methods to detect autologous blood transfusions using labeled antibodies and flow cytometry. They will use markers on red blood cells to differentiate between an individual’s own blood and a transfusion from another person. They will receive about $45,000 for the study.
Earlier this year, USADA presented research grants to the following groups:
- The Hormone Foundation (Bethesda, Md.) for a proposal to plan a workshop on adolescent abuse of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances. They received approximately $50,000 to support the project, which involved a workshop as the first activity in a multi-stage, collaborative program to develop and implement a national initiative to prevent the abuse of these substances.
- The Hastings Center (Garrison, N.Y.) proposal focuses on the ethics and values involved in developing rules in the area of oxygen transport enhancement, including technologies from altitude tents to recombinant EPO and EPO gene therapy. One goal of the grant is to develop clear guidelines for sport and athletes as to where acceptable practices end and cheating begins. They received about $385,000 to support the project.
- The University of Utah Center for Human Toxicology grant concentrates on the further development of analytical testing procedures. They received about $40,000 for the study.
- UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab received two grants; the first grant is entitled “Improving The Detection of Erythropoietin [EPO] Administration,” and focuses on the increasing the effectiveness of detecting EPO in drug testing. The second grant – “Improving Urine Testing for Endogenous Steroids by Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry” – deals with increasing the ability of the laboratory to tell the difference between pharmaceutical and natural testosterone. The UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab received about $900,000 for the two studies.
USADA has budgeted $2 million annually for anti-doping research. Announcements of grant funding will occur on a quarterly basis, and a number of proposals are currently under review.
In addition, the USADA and the National Analytical Reference Laboratory (NARL) in Australia have reached an agreement for NARL to prepare certified reference materials for several new anabolic steroid metabolites. These materials will be distributed to all WADA/International Olympic Committee (IOC) accredited laboratories. The laboratories require such reference materials so that identification of prohibited substances can be proven in a clear and convincing manner.
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.