Seventy-eight scientists, laboratory directors and sports administrators representing 19 countries came to Dallas to discuss the science supporting several strategies for the detection of growth hormone abuse in sport. Experts heard presentations about research projects funded by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee, and discussed the progress made.
There was widespread acceptance of all of the scientific approaches. The different approaches are at different stages of development and transition from research to routine test. All of the tests will use blood for measurement, as opposed to the traditional use of urine in doping control. There will be collection of blood for the Athens Olympic Games. When a test is validated for the prohibited substance human growth hormone, it will be implemented. The same was the case for darbepoietin when it was detected in the EPO assay to the surprise of some competitors at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. There was and will be no announcement made on the test for a specific prohibited substance or method. As pointed out by IOC President Dr. Jacque Rogge and WADA President Dick Pound, growth hormone is a prohibited substance, and athletes should not be taking it. If they choose to do so, they risk being sanctioned.
This is the third annual USADA Symposium on Anti-Doping Science. The objective of the conference is to gather international experts to discuss specific scientific issues in doping control, to identify areas requiring research and to consider testing strategies. The initial symposium considered oxygen transport enhancement and subsequently a number of testing advances have been reported in the scientific literature. Last year’s research symposium dealt with the detection of testosterone and work is under way to further implement the recommendations. These advances could not be achieve by any one anti-doping agency working alone, and USADA would like to express our appreciation for the collaboration of WADA, who is represented today by Dr. Rabin, the Director of Science and the IOC, represented by Dr. Schamasch, who is the IOC Medical Director. I want to emphasize that our interactions and discussions occur on a regular basis, this coordinated, cooperative effort will continue to generate advances against athletes, and their supporting personnel who attempt to cheat by using prohibited substances and methods.