SBD/Issue 41/Sports & Society

Researchers Closer To Groundbreaking Urine Test For HGH

Don Catlin Conducting Anti-Doping Research
To Identify A Urine Test For HGH
Former UCLA Olympic Analytical Lab Dir Dr. Don Catlin, who oversaw blood testing for HGH at the Beijing Games, and former National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research Pathology Lab Chief Dr. Lance Liotta yesterday said that they are "on the way to establishing a urine test" for HGH, according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. Catlin and Liotta have "launched a study to build upon Liotta's ability to identify isolated markers of HGH in urine," which "could close a drug-testing loophole." Catlin yesterday at the first Growth Hormone Summit (GHS) in Beverly Hills said, "This is a groundbreaking step that'll change the game a bit." Catlin's anti-doping research is "entering the third year of work on a three-year, $450,000 grant" by MLB to "establish whether an HGH urine test is possible." Catlin also received the same funding from the NFLPA. MLB officials said that the Catlin-Liotta partnership is "poised to be 'at the front of the line'" when the Partnership for Clean Competition -- consisting of MLB, NFL and the USOC -- later this year "begins to distribute funds from a pool" of $10M (L.A. TIMES, 11/11).

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: In N.Y., Nathaniel Vinton reports MLB sponsored yesterday's GHS, which explored the "barriers to HGH testing" in professional sports, and an audience of doctors, MLB officials and journalists at yesterday's summit "heard from a series of experts on the science, legality and ethics of HGH testing." The "biggest challenge appears to be the fact that despite recent success incorporating nanotechnology, no urine test exists for HGH," and the MLBPA "remains opposed to blood testing, even though a certified blood test has emerged for the Olympics" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/11). Also in N.Y., Michael Schmidt notes WADA Senior Manager of Science Osquel Barroso participated in the GHS. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's office and the MLBPA have been "criticized for not being as proactive as WADA about testing" for HGH. WADA since '00 has tested 8,500 athletes for HGH and has yet to produce a positive test. Barroso said, "We are confident that as out-of-competition testing increases, we will have positive results. And if we don't have any positive results, then we will know that there is no growth hormone use and we will be happy." But MLBPA COO Gene Orza said of WADA's blood test, "We are not going to jump to that conclusion that there is a test today. At best, the science is murky today and there are people invested in the test's development" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/11). Barroso also said, "We are very happy [MLB] has taken some steps to take on this problem. The fact they invited us here is important. We are willing to work with them" (USA TODAY, 11/11).

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