[Cevdopagem] GENE DOPING: UTRECHT, Netherlands

Ribeiro, Alvaro alvaro em cev.org.br
Quinta Abril 22 06:44:18 BRT 2004

Experts believe first gene doping cases are around the corner
TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, April 17, 2004
©2004 Associated Press
(04-17) 11:44 PDT UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) --

 Experts believe athletes and coaches will soon turn to gene doping in an
attempt to gain a performance edge.
 Authorities told a workshop on gene doping Saturday that recent discoveries
have made it inevitable that athletes and coaches will try to abuse gene
therapy to gain an edge in speed, strength or endurance -- despite huge health
 "I'm very pessimistic -- I think it won't take very long," said Hidde Haisma,
a professor of gene therapy at the University of Groningen. The needed tools
"are available at labs around the world," he said.
  Though the idea of manipulating genes to enhance performance has been around
for more than a decade, it gained attention this year after a University of
Pennsylvania study showed that muscle mass, strength and endurance in rats can
be increased by altering their genes.
  Scientists have treated roughly 3,000 humans suffering from life-threatening
illnesses with gene therapy, but few cases have been successful and some have
been fatal.
 In one non-human study where monkeys' genes were manipulated to produce an
extra protein called erythropoietin, some of the monkeys developed the disease
 Given the risks involved, the first gene doping in the sports world may be in
an animal sport like dog racing, Haisma said.
 But Olivier Rabin, science director at the World Anti-Doping Agency, said
human athletes won't wait long. He pointed to instances when athletes began
using new steroids "straight from the test tube, before they were even tested
on animals."
 Current blood and urine tests cannot detect gene doping, and Haisma said the
most promising technique of detection involved analyzing the proteins in blood
samples, looking for a suspicious spike.
  "There is no doubt in the minds of people working in the sports community that
gene doping is coming," he said.

©2004 Associated Press

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