From 3 to 5 May, The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Italian Federation of Sports Medicine (FMSI) held a leading scientific symposium in Rome focused on protection of the clean athlete.
WADA invited the world’s leading experts on haematology and the urinary steroid profile to evaluate and discuss the current status and future developments of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program; which, as was highlighted at WADA’s recent Anti-Doping Organisation (ADO) Symposium, is an increasingly important tool for global anti-doping organisations.
The three day symposium in Rome, which focused on the progress made, and the ongoing challenges faced, in the application of the haematological and steroidal modules of the ABP, included senior WADA representatives: Dr. Alan Vernec, Medical Director; Dr. Osquel Barroso, Deputy Director of Science; and, Drs. Pierre-Edouard Sottas and Reid Aikin, Managers of the ABP program.
“The values that the FMSI has always promoted are those of clean sport, good health and sporting honesty at all levels – the same values as WADA’s”, said Dr. Maurizio Casasco, FMSI President. “We are committed to reaffirming these values and we were delighted to host this event. It highlighted the recent advances made in scientific research as part of what is one of WADA’s most important projects, the ABP Program, which is focused on developing increasingly sophisticated strategies in the fight against doping.”
“The protection of the rights of clean athletes requires creative thinking along with solid research; which, in turn, can be transformed into effective anti-doping programs,” said Dr. Alan Vernec, WADA’s Medical Director. “It was a hugely productive exercise to convene a meeting in Rome with some of the world’s most experienced ABP physicians and scientists in order to review patterns of doping and seek ways to continue the strong progress we are making with this important Program.”
Representatives also discussed current research on the endocrine module and the required next steps for its further development and implementation.
Participants agreed to further strengthen the ABP Program through targeted research, and specifically outlined the need to identify additional biomarkers of doping.
They also agreed that an ABP Educational Symposium would be held later this year to further educate specialists; and, that there would be other similar initiatives over the next few years.
Over 400 blood doping cases have been sanctioned since the ABP was introduced in 2009; however, further efforts still need to be made to determine the level of deterrence. The fact that increasing numbers of samples will be stored for testing years later is expected to further deter athletes in the months and years ahead.