Doping in sport
8 August 2008
Professor John Rasko, head of the Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Centenary Institute, talks about gene doping and other methods of performance enhancement on the eve of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Touching upon the mechanisms by which athletes can attempt to increase performance, such as blood doping and altitude training to increase the individual's oxygen carrying capacity, he goes on to discuss the use of hormones to stimulate the production of red blood cells in the body to improve performance.
Professor Rasko also talks about the new area of gene doping, which is achieved through the use of gene therapy technologies that have recently become more widely available.
Warning of the danger of 'over filling the tank', Rasko says that the increase in red blood cells in the body as a result of these therapies can lead to stroke, cardiovascular accident, with clots in peripheral blood vessels leading to gangrene and other complications.
Finally, he touches upon new methods of detection and suggests that future methods of testing could even enable the doping agencies to detect if blood has been stored outside the body to avoid current testing methods.
Professor Rasko gave this talk as part of the Australian Science Media Centre media briefing, entitled Drugs at the Olympics, on 4 August 2008.
Contact: Jake O'Shaughnessy
Phone: +61 2 9351 4312 or 0421 617 861