Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2014 03:29 | By Agence France-Presse

Research breakthrough could help detect HGH

A research breakthrough using the insulin-like growth factor IGF-1 as a biomarker could produce a better test for human growth hormone, anti-doping experts said Wednesday.


Research breakthrough could help detect HGH

Photo taken on June 28, 2008 in Paris of a "Berlinger" anti-doping control kit used by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) on the Tour de France - by Joel Saget

Research appearing in the latest issue of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry showed measuring IGF-1 could increase the detection of HGH doping by greatly enhancing the precision of laboratories.

The measurement uses a chemistry technique known as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and builds upon existing tests for HGH.

Researchers from five laboratories in three nations led by US Anti-Doping Agency physician Larry Bowers and funded by the Partnership for Clean Competition (PCC) began working in 2011 on more precise test methods for HGH.

"Not only are these research results groundbreaking but the selfless work and cooperation of the members of this working group, with the PCC's support, demonstrates the power of collaborative research," Bowers said.

"Bringing together top scientists and innovators in focused research to identify and resolve analytical problems is critical to advancing anti-doping science."

The PCC hopes the research will be used as the basis for tougher global sporting tests for growth hormone, used by dope cheats to build muscle in part by increasing concentrations of IGF-1 in the blood from liver response to growth hormone.

While an isoforms test has been successfully used to identify HGH dope cheats, it is limited by a short detection window.

The biomarkers test measures concentrations of IGF-1 and another protein produced by reaction to growth hormones and has a detection window of several weeks.

"In addition to being an important anti-doping testing advancement, new testing methodology arising from these findings could also aid in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders caused by the natural over- or under-production of growth hormone," said Andy Hoofnagle, senior author on the research paper.

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