First Case Athlete Sanction in Human Growth Hormone, from UK Anti-Doping

by Masa Takaya on 25 Feb, 2010 09:30

The ITU Anti-doping Team would like to a share a press release they received from UK Anti-Doping which is important to be noticed as this is a major breakthrough in the international fight against doping in sport. UK Anti-Doping announced Monday the first case of human growth hormone (hGH)* resulting in an athlete sanction. The sport in question was not triathlon, but it is important know that this prohibited substance has now had its first analytical positive worldwide as it was previously thought to be undetectable.

The Rugby League player “accepted a two-year sanction for the presence of hGH in a blood sample that was collected during out-of-competition target testing on 24 November 2009. He accepted the charge uncontested on Friday 19 February 2010.

U.K. Anti-Doping Chief Executive, Andy Parkinson, said, “This is a landmark in the fight against doping. It is the world-first analytical positive for hGH, a substance that has previously gone undetected because it leaves the system fairly quickly after administration.”

Advancements in technology to detect and analyze the presence of prohibited substances, together with U.K. Anti-Doping’s increased power in intelligence and results management, have significantly increased the likelihood that athletes who use performance-enhancing substances will get caught.

Mr. Parkinson said, “This positive finding was a combination of intelligence, target testing and a strong partnership with the scientific community in anti-doping. Athletes using hGH should take Newton’s experience as a stern warning – if you use hGH you will not get away with it.”

U.K. Anti-Doping and King’s College London Drug Control Centre worked closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) throughout the sample-analysis process.

WADA Director General, David Howman, said, “This first completed case involving an analytical finding for hGH is a positive step in the global fight against doping in sport. It sends a strong message to those athletes who take the risk to misuse hGH that we will ultimately catch them.”

Most WADA-accredited laboratories can now test for hGH, including the King’s College London Drug Control Centre in the U.K.

King’s College London Drug Control Centre Director, Professor David Cowan, said, “This is an exciting major breakthrough that has been the result of many years of careful research with WADA. The detection of substances that are virtually identical to our natural hormones has always represented a challenge. This shows how science has closed an important gap and further enhances our ability to deter cheating athlete and ensure the integrity of sport and promote healthy competition.”

*Human growth hormone (hGH) is synthesized and secreted by cells in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. It is known to act on many aspects of cellular metabolism and is also necessary for skeletal growth in humans. The major role of hGH in body growth is to stimulate the liver and other tissues to secrete insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). This stimulates production of cartilage cells, resulting in bone growth and also plays a key role in muscle and organ growth. HGH is a prohibited substance (category S2.2: Hormones and Related Substances) under WADA’s 2009 List of Prohibited Substances.”

If you have any questions about ITU’s Anti-doping programme please contact ITU’s Anti-doping Director at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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