WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 -- Nearly every major sport has been plagued by scandals involving the use of banned substances by athletes. In the wake of this growing problem, a group of researchers at the American Chemical Society's 230th national meeting in Washington, D.C., will discuss scientific and regulatory aspects surrounding the controversial topic of sports doping during a special half-day symposium on Tuesday, Aug. 30, from 8:55 a.m. - 11:35 a.m. at the Washington Convention Center, Room 156. The symposium is entitled "Preventing Doping in Sports: A Herculean Task." Highlights of the symposium include:
"Gene doping" in sports: A future challenge -- 'Gene doping' is defined as the non-therapeutic use of genes, genetic elements and/or cells that have the capacity to enhance athletic performance, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency. Experts believe that these scientific advances, although still experimental, will some day be used by athletes to gain a competitive advantage. For example, certain growth factor compounds designed to treat muscle wasting disease might be used to boost muscle mass; erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that regulates red blood cell production, might be genetically engineered to increase endurance; and 'PGC-alpha,' a gene involved in muscle signaling, could be used to activate specific muscle fibers to optimize performance. Rosario M. Isasi of the Université de Montréal in Canada will explore the cutting-edge issue of gene doping, including its scientific, regulatory and social implications. (CHAL 27, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 9:00 a.m.)
Designer steroids pose testing challenge -- Designer doping agents, including steroids, are available that allow athletes to gain a competitive advantage and evade normal testing controls. Christiane Ayotte of INRS-Armand-Frappier Institute's Doping Control Laboratory in Canada will discuss strategies for testing challenging steroids, identifying new substances and their properties, and obtaining information about sources and distribution of these steroids. (CHAL 29, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 10:00 a.m.)
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency: Setting high standards -- The U.S. Anti-doping Agency (USADA) has emerged as one of the most effective agencies in the world dedicated to "preserving the well being of Olympic sport, the integrity of competition, and ensuring the health of athletes." Jean L. Fourcroy, a USADA board member, will describe ongoing efforts to develop a comprehensive national program to fight sports doping, including testing, education, research and policies related to the organization's mission. (CHAL 30, Tuesday, Aug 30, 10:30 a.m.)
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization, chartered by the U.S. Congress, with a multidisciplinary membership of more than 158,000 chemists and chemical engineers. It publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.