Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene doping detectable with a simple blood test

03.09.2010
German scientists from Tübingen and Mainz have developed a blood test that can reliably detect gene doping even after 56 days

Scientists at the universities in Tübingen and Mainz have developed a test that can provide conclusive proof of gene doping.

"For the first time, a direct method is now available that uses conventional blood samples to detect doping via gene transfer and is still effective if the actual doping took place up to 56 days before," Professor Perikles Simon, MD, PhD from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany explained on Thursday.

"This represents a relatively low-cost method of detecting several of the most common doping genes," Simon stated in the presentation of the process. It was previously impossible to prove that an athlete had undergone gene doping. "The process of inserting individual genes in specific body cells stems from the idea of curing severe illnesses with this new technology.

It was previously thought that it would only be possible to detect gene doping via gene transfer using an extremely costly indirect test procedure from the field of molecular medicine," explained gene therapist Professor Michael Bitzer, MD from the University Hospital of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen.

The gene doping study conducted by the scientists from Tübingen and Mainz was published in the online edition of the internationally renowned scientific journal "Gene Therapy" on Thursday. According to the study, the test provides clear "yes-or-no answers" based on whether or not so-called transgenic DNA is present in blood samples. Transgenic DNA or tDNA does not stem from the person being tested but has been transferred into their body – often via viruses – in order to create performance-enhancing substances such as erythropoetin (EPO) for forming red blood cells. "The body of a gene-doped athlete produces the performance-enhancing hormones itself without having to introduce any foreign substances to the body. Over time, the body becomes its own doping supplier," explained Simon. In 2006, as a member of the University Hospital in Tübingen, he developed a procedure that enables even the tiniest traces of transgenic DNA to be detected in the blood. The efficiency of this procedure has now been proven for the first time in laboratory mice. A key component of the animal procedure was a sophisticated process that was able to insert the foreign genetic material extremely specifically to the muscles around a small puncture area.

This triggers excess production of a hormone, which prompts the generation of new blood vessels. Even two months after the genes were injected into the muscles, researchers were able to differentiate clearly between the mice subjected to gene doping and those that were not. "The development of a reliable method for detecting misuse of gene transfer will be used to ensure that this new technology, for which the side effects are only partially known, is used exclusively in the treatment of severe diseases," stated Bitzer. Over the next few months, the University Hospital in Tübingen is planning a relevant therapy study for advanced tumor patients.

The safe and sensitive detection procedure developed by the scientists in Mainz and Tübingen was then proven in a so-called specificity test on 327 blood samples taken from professional and recreational athletes. Researchers now believe that athletes will no longer profit from the misuse of gene therapy for doping purposes. "At the very least, the risk of being discovered months after the gene transfer has taken place should deter even the most daring dopers," Simon believes. The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has financed this research over the past four years with a total of 980,000 US Dollars.

Petra Giegerich | idw
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/gt/journal/v17/n8/full/gt201049a.html
http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2007124861

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>