Professional sport has been rocked by allegations of cheating by athletes. Last year’s Olympic Games in Athens, for example, were marred by news that Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou had been charged with doping violations by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Part of the problem is that current testing procedures are slow, laborious and expensive. As it is currently impossible to implement a general screening program to test every competitor, many drug cheats go undetected.
A recent paper in the journal Clinical Chemistry by Jing Cheng and colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing offers hope that the general screening of athletes may soon be a viable option. They have developed a novel protein chip that screens for a series of 16 prohibited drugs in urine samples. A validation study of the new chips on known abusers and control samples has shown that they are highly effective at detecting banned substances. The authors conclude that this system has the potential to become an efficient and sensitive screening method to widely test for the performance-enhancing substances prohibited in professional sport.
Message posted by: Jonathan Mill
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