Saturday, September 29, 2007

'The Telgraph' explores the dark arts of performance enhancing drugs

Amgen is a 'multi-kagillion-dollar' bio-tech company that shot to 'kagillion-dollar' proportions when it brought two historic drugs to market called Epogen and Neupogen. (EPO creates more oxygen carrying red blood cells versus Neupogen which creates white ones. Cheaters use EPO whereas cancer patients use both.)

Seventeen years ago Epogen use to be very expensive but it is a lot less now since its patent expired. Hence, Amgen had to remedy that price point problem by creating a new and improved Epogen which is called Aranesp or
Darbepoietin. These are the drugs discussed in The Telegraph articles

The Telegraph
has been posting some very informative articles on sports doping. What I was happy to hear is that swimming is not considered to the major doping problem it once was during the cold war with East Germany and later during the 1990' with the Chinese. (Of course the USA had dopers too.)

This snippet from The Telegraph Mumbai:
"... Q: Which are the main sports where drug-taking is rife?

The sports which appear most associated (and stigmatised) by drugs are weightlifting, cycling, pro-football, pro-baseball, athletics and to a lesser extent these days, swimming. What are the new designer drugs coming into vogue?

I don’t see a day when drugs in sport will ever be beaten. Soon, the cheats will have moved on to genetic doping methods. Gene doping offers a permanent fix and will be largely undetectable. An interesting dilemma will confront sport soon: a pain vaccine is at the clinical trial stage and, as sure as eggs, every man and his dog will want this stuff because it will avoid what every athlete fears — the dreaded ‘pain barrier’. ..." [Link]
The concept of 'gene doping' sounds very fascinating to me for is it really doping? Imagine that you have asthma or brachycardia, perhaps an inefficient metabolic rate that makes you prone to obesity, why not correct it permanently and have a higher quality of life? Is that doping if it makes you swim faster?

Per this snippet from The Daily Telegraph Australia, the designer drugs athletes are taking now are:

"...They were Oxyglobin, Erythropoietin (EPO) and Darbepoietin. The controversial gene therapy drug Repoxygen was not among the drugs offered. But leading Australian researcher Robin Parisotto claims the powerful oxygen-boosting drug Repoxygen is available to rogue athletes.

The Canadian firm's representative recommended that I buy Darbepoietin. The reason, I was told, is that a test already exists for EPO - for human athletes and horses.

But a test has existed for Darbepoietin use by humans since 2002. Furthermore, a test now exists for horses too.

Darbepoietin is basically a super form of EPO that preceded Repoxygen's arrival on the doping scene as detailed in The Daily Telegraph yesterday. ..." [Link]

The photo to the right comes from penston's photostream at It is entitled Aranesp. Here is a link to the actual photo. [Link]

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