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Bond Research May Lead to Improved Global Anti-Doping Program

A Bond University sports scientist has presented to a major international symposium research findings with the potential to significantly improve sports anti-doping test programs.

Dr Bon Gray, Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport science in Bond's Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, has led research into changes in white blood cells  to detect the use of human growth hormone.

The  results show changes in gene expression that persist for at least 21 days after finishing a seven day course of growth hormone which is a vast improvement on the current test that has a window of detection of only 36 hours.

Dr Gray has presented the findings to World Anti-Doping Agency's Gene and Cell Doping Symposium in Beijing. This stemmed from a one-year pilot project funded by the Australian government’s Anti Doping Research Program to develop a new blood test for the detection of the use of human growth hormone.

"The idea centres on measurement of changes in gene expression in white blood cells which are part of our immune system," he said.

"It clearly establishes that profiling in the detection of the use of growth hormone could have direct application for the development a novel anti-doping detection method."

The Beijing symposium, hosted by the China Anti-Doping Agency and the Beijing Olympic City Development Association examined scientific advances in gene doping research, and in particular focuses on latest developments in the use genetic technologies ..for doping detection.

Dr Gray has had extensive experience in education, sport, coaching and exercise science and completed a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Australian National University in Canberra while undertaking research at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Dr Gray and his co-investigator Associate Professor Lotti Tajouri were among a select group of experts from around the world in the fields of scientific research, anti-doping testing and medicine invited to the symposium.

"Only 20 sports scientists worldwide were invited symposium which made it a very significant gathering of the best research in this specialised field," said Dr Gray.

"It is a recognition of the work that Bond University has been doing in a number of areas in the field of sports science and adds to the university's prestige in the overall fields of Health and Medical Science.

"Our results are very promising and we hope that they will lead to a greatly improved testing regime for anti-doping testing for human growth hormone.

"With some further research we should be able to consolidate the outcomes of this study which will prove useful in both in and out of competition testing, and improve the frequency with which those using human growth hormone are identified."

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