Athletes and Drugs: The Eternal Quest for Perfection

Olympic Athletes

Athletes have been trying to break world records for centuries now. Their constant aim for perfection lead them to evolve from optimizing their diets and using leaves and roots that reduce their thirst and hunger, to using steroids and other types of drugs that can cause damage to their health in the long run. To protect these athletes and the integrity of the competitions, the International Olympic Committee published the first list of banned drugs in 1968. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was then created in 1999 “to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport”.
To become accredited to perform doping controls for sports, laboratories must demonstrate their willingness and their ability to analyze at least 3000 samples annually. What if there was a technology that could considerably increase their throughput? What if we could test every single athlete before the competition?

The first generation LDTD has already been tested and used to detect doping in camel racing in the United Arab Emirates. This technology is used in many types of analyses for its reproducibility, robustness and, most of all, for its speed. In fact, analyzing a 384-well plate can take between 5.8 and 10 minutes with the Luxon model – that’s as low as 0.9 seconds sample-to-sample!

Phytronix has worked on method development with well-known laboratories in the toxicology field. We have tested several sample preparation processes and have come up with a generic extraction that has been used to screen over 120 different molecules from different classes (opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, barbiturates, etc.) and could work with many more.

Here is a preview of the method:

Scientist Cartoon

Other methods have been developed in urine and blood using other types of cartridges or liquid-liquid extractions. All of the molecules tested have reached a lower limit of quantification below the decision limits chosen by the WADA. Also, the LDTD technology has been used with differential mobility spectrometry devices to analyze isobaric barbiturates or other analytes with interferants. Below is a list of several other sample preparation methods that can be used to quantify or screen drugs banned from sport competitions.

AN-1215 – Confirmation of Methadone and 2-Ethylidene-1,5-Dimethyl-3,3-Diphenylpyrrolidine (EDDP) in Urine and analysis by LDTD-MS/MS
AN-1309 – Confirmation of Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDA, MDMA, and MDEA in Urine via analysis by LDTD-MS/MS
AN-1305 – Solid-Phase-Extraction of Clenbuterol in Plasma and analysis by LDTD-MS/MS
AN-1314 – Dispersive Phase Extraction in Tip of Tetrahydrocannabinol in Oral Fluid and analysis by LDTD-MS/MS
AN-1220 – Fast and Selective Quantification of Testosterone in Plasma using LDTD-QTrap 5500 SelexION™ System
AN-0711 – LDTD High-Throughput Screening and Quantification of Doping Agents in Human

Click here to see the application notes in Toxicology we have prepared.

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