Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday Scavenging

Anonymous comment to this post, claims it is 'well known' in the pro cycling world that Landis botched his blood doping after bonking in Stage 16.

This has been suggested in lots of discussions I've been following. If so, we might see that IRMS of earlier samples are clean, and post-Stage 17 samples having some residual metabolites from the tainted doping blood. Clean IRMS on both sides would suggest tampering with the S17 sample. If the doping was E masking that was botched on S17, then I'd guess IRMS would be dirty on all tests. It seems like doing IRMS on other samples can help make the case for tampering, and to support or refute either of the plausible doping scenarios. It doesn't do anything for the implausible one-day T patch scenario.

Good lay overview from "The Chemical Eye"

Catlin's lay description of tests, for USA Today on Aug 1.

Good discussion of T/E example math in this Bicycling Forum post in July, pre IRMS.

Some analysis of WADA stats, and the 6 to 4 TE change.

Some background info about labs, reports and tests.

WADA has 33 accredited labs, as of May 8th.

Accreditation done to ISL and ISO/IEC 17025 standards; ISL assesors trained by WADA.

ISL described, it includes ethics, chain of custody, documentation standards and sensitivity requirements among others.
The actual standards can be found here, addendum here; from 2004. There may be something newer..

List of assesors; there are 31 individuals working for accrediting agencies. In France, it is COFAC; in the US it is the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA)

FAQ's about Labs, from WADA: Labs must run 1500 tests/year to avoid close scrutiny. Every quarter, WADA sends 5 samples to each lab and has them analyze them, with results reported back. If they mess up, they have accreditation problems.

Comment: It would be useful to know how many IRMS/CIR samples have been used in these evaluations of the labs that are accretied to do IRMS, and how successful these tests were.

Among the studies to support T/E and IRMS are

Establishing normal levels in urine; completed in 2001.
Making analytic standard references; completed in 2001
Analysing steroid metabolites with IRMS; completed 2001
Considering contaminated meat; 2001, may not be complete.
CIR with high and low baseline T/E; 2001.
Reference materials for Steroids; 2002, may not be complete.
Diet change affect on C12/C13; 2003, may not be complete.
Testosterone Gel, 2004;
Comment: The IRMS tests seem relatively new, probably not widely used before 2002? It would be useful to know how many IRMS tests have been done by the accredited labs, especially LNDD, and how many adverse findings have been declared from those tests. If these sample sets are small, the possibility of false positive becomes larger. The Space Shuttle flew 25 times before Challenger, which didn't prove it was safe. If there have only been 10 CIR positives, and no history of the technique being used for other diagnostic purposes, then there is the possibility of doubt. That doesn't help much unless you can duplicate a false positive experimentally, but it gives you hope you could pursue the theory.

Using the USADA reported numbers, there have been 25 US AAFs for Testosterone since 2001, with no breakdown of how many were IRMS tested. I'll look for WADA numbers later.

Australian lab got IRMS in 1999,

About half the labs use IRMS, says report in the Grauniad. Labs without IRMS are required to be able to send samples to a lab that does have one with a proper chain of custody.

China has IRMS, can test 4000 samples/yr. As of 2004, "Although the IOCMC has confirmed the HRMS and IRMS as official detecting methods, so far not every IOC-accredited laboratory has mastered the technology for the two instruments."

General rundown of anti-doping tests identifies IRMS mfgr. Mass Spec Solutions.

Sample AAF finding is shown. Says identification of the results of "speciality techniques such as EPO or IRMS" should be clearly marked. It is not required to go into detail about the test details, reporting a small set of values. There may be a separate, clearly marked "opinion" box that speculates on the likely cause of the result.

A Laboratory Documentation Package is to go with a "Final Analytical Sample Report". This "final" report is presumably what Landis and Jacobs are waiting for, and I've called a "pack" before. In litigation, the lab is only required to produce what is in the LDP standard, and no more, according to the ISL.

IRMS/CIR Related

While looking for other uses of IRMS/CIR, came upon the following, which doesn't even have a viewable abstract, but an interesting title: Challenges in Producing Defensible Environmental Chemistry Measurements for Litigation

IRMS Machine hygiene described, mostly contamination.

Physics Forum talks about Landis IRMS, pay particular attention to Moonbear, who talks about how a contaminate pipette could have screwed Floyd's test.

Previously noted new paper about C ratios in Cow urine based on diet. This is science behind the partly joking Muesli theory.

Using simultaneous analysis to detect food sources; slide set w/diagrams of apparatus.
Ceylon or Darjeeling? How to tell with your IRMS.
Where the Heroin is from, by your IRMS.

[updated Sunday 21:39]


Anonymous said...

Within in the pro cycling world it is already well known what happened, and what is going to happen to Landis, Ullrich, and Basso.
Landis used a tainted bag after his bonk stage. A bag from a period when he trained with testo. It was a stupid screw up.
Ulrich is going to be banned for life for repeat offense. His career is over.
Basso will be released for lack of evidence, even though they know he did it. He already has a new contract with a major team that's been chasing him for a while.

Cheryl from Maryland said...

First, thank you TBV for your efforts in scouring the internet for information. Having something to read everyday has helped me maintain my interest in following road cycling.

Second, I've always wondered about the logistics of blood doping during a competition. Training, I can see -- there is more privacy, time, the weather is colder, so your arms are covered, etc.

My mom has had five blood transfusions over the 12 months to combat internal bleeding from acid reflux, and they have not been quick procedures (of course, she is over 80). She's on the IV for one unit of blood for at least 8 hours, and there is an enormous hole and bruising in her arm. It's also hard to sleep with the line in your arm.

So, anecdotal experience suggests blood transfusions are a largish operation with physical evidence - rider's arms aren't covered (if they could put the line in your hand, a rider's gloves would cover the bruising, but the doctor told us he couldn't do that from my mom), I don't know of any makeup that lasts 6 hours in the heat with sweating, there is a lack of privacy in a hotel, if you go to a private clinic, it's hard to keep it a secret from your roomate or team (maybe the lead riders have their own room or the trainers have their own room), and it's hard to sleep, making you full of extra oxygenated blood, but tired or hung over from sleeping pills.

None of this, of course, is germane to an actual defense for Mr. Landis. He has to deal with the results of the test, not the logic or lack thereof of doping.

Those in the medical profession might also have a different and more accurate perspective than an art historian's. But blood doping would seem to be a complex operation, taking up a lengthy amount of time, involving several people, with a fair amount of physical evidence. If this is happening on a regular basis at events, the code of silence and the disposal of the evidence is darned impressive.

Anonymous said...

I have a medical background and I have had a transfusion of my own blood following hip replacement surgery. I felt fine prior to the transfusion. It took the better part of a day to run the blood in, and it made me run a fever and feel nauseous and very tired for about 24 hours afterwards. I don't think blood doping would work very well the night before a big event, but I am ignorant about illegal use of transfusions in healthy people that haven't just undergone surgery, so maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some anonymous athlete would like to inform the rest of us just when the doping is done. The proposed scenario of a tainted blood bag infused the night before just seems ridiculous to me. I'm pretty tired of seeing speculation stated as fact on some of these forums. TBV, I applaud you for trying to assemble some of the better information.

Anonymous said...

Here is what I'd like to know. I've seen a few people who seem like they might have some relevant knowledge say that they "don't think" that Floyd's cortisone shots could mess up the IRMS test. But was this explored at all during the validation studies for the IRMS test for evidence of exogenous testosterone? Has anyone reading this seen a research paper that has addressed this? Cortisone is related to testosterone chemically and metabolically. Are there possibly some metabolic pathways that would allow some of the plant-origin carbon atoms from oxogenous synthetic cortisol to be incorporated into endogenously-produced testosterone? This is outside my area of laboratory expertise, but I am curious to know. Of course, if this is true, both pre and post stage 17 tests should show also show "evidence of synthetic testosterone". As far as I can tell from the incomplete info that has been available, the IRMS was only done on the stage 17 sample, because there was no "adverse" T/E ratio on the other days. Maybe the admitted alcohol consumption altered the T/E ratio on the day of stage 17, as some studies have shown that it can do, and only because of this it was discovered that Floyd has a higher than "normal" C13/C12 ratio. Can anyone show me any scientific evidence that this scenario cannot have happened? How hard would it be to get some urine from some guys before and after they have had cortisone injected into a bad hip to just see if it has any effect on the IRMS testing for testosterone? If I was an anti-doping official and I had any integrity, I'd want to be sure this can't happen before destroying a guy's career.