The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) awarded two grants in the fourth quarter 2003 in the fight against doping, USADA Senior Managing Director Larry Bowers announced Monday.
One research grant was awarded to the “Science and Industry against Blood-doping” consortium. The grant is named “Characterization of gene expression profile associated with the use of erythropoietic stimulants.” The objective of this research is to identify gene expression profiles associated with the use of erythropoietic stimulant that could be used to detect their use, and thereby deter athletes from using this potentially hazardous means of increasing the oxygen carrying capacity of their blood. The grant total is $250,000.
In addition, the Institute of Haematology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Camperdown, Australia received a grant for its application titled “Development of a Test or tests to Deter the Abuse of Autologous Blood Transfusion in Sport.” The principle objective of the grant is to develop a test to detect autologous blood transfusion in athletes competing in endurance events. They will receive about $50,000 for the study.
In 2002, USADA funded another grant for the Institute of Haematology entitled “Development of a Test or tests to Deter the Abuse of Blood Transfusion in Sport.” That grant focused on the development of confirmation methods to detect homologous (from another person) blood transfusions using labeled antibodies and flow cytometry. The testing approach was described in a publication in the November 2003 issue of the Journal Haematologica. USADA is actively pursuing commercial partners to further develop and implement the testing approach worldwide.
“We are starting to see results from grants that we have previously awarded, and we feel that the results of these grants have set a strong foundation for the fight against doping on the world scene,” said Bowers. “USADA is receiving increased interest from the research community in the United States as well as on a global basis, and we anticipate additional grants to be awarded for years to come.”
In addition, the USADA and the National Analytical Reference Laboratory (NARL) in Australia reached an agreement for NARL to prepare certified reference materials for several new anabolic steroids and their metabolites. These materials have been 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 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.
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.