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the microsampling blog

blood microsampling brings quantification to anti-doping research


Capillary Blood Microsampling in Anti-doping Research

In the arena of athletic competition, curtailing the use of anabolic steroids is one of the most significant challenges. This category includes the performance-enhancing substances that athletes most commonly abuse in the interest of gaining an unfair advantage.

Dr. Alan Brailsford and the team at the Drug Control Centre, Kings College London, are addressing this problem through the development of a new analytical method that can allow for the detection of anabolic steroids in tiny volumes of dried blood.

It leverages the benefits of Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling technology, a revolutionary quantitative dried blood sampling approach using Mitra® microsampling devices from Neoteryx.

Through the precise quantification enabled by VAMS® technology, Dr. Brailsford and his colleagues hope to evaluate the use of athlete-specific limits for testosterone concentrations in dried blood samples.

This approach is far more effective than simply looking at single concentrations when detecting testosterone abuse.

VAMS® Makes It Easier, Smarter, and Quantitative

In his work on steroid analysis, Dr. Brailsford had been working with dried blood spots for some time when a colleague told him about the Mitra® device.

"After having a quick look, I could immediately see it was an approach worth investigating," Dr. Brailsford says. "It met our needs relating to both the simplicity of sample collection and the ability to quantify the analytes detected."

With VAMS® technology on hand, Dr. Brailsford found himself able to collect samples more easily, and with more enthusiastic cooperation, than he could when using painful venipuncture.

"The key is that it allows accurate quantification very simply, which provides more useful data in many contexts when compared with qualitative analysis," says Dr. Brailsford.

Better Detection of Doping Begins Here

Alan-brailsford-microsampling-neoteryx-antidoping"One large issue we are trying to tackle with this research is that we wish to both simplify, and to reduce the costs associated with, the sample collection process," Dr. Brailsford says. "This would allow more athletes to be tested. This on its own is obviously a positive step in the fight against doping, but it should also be considered that as more testing is done, the deterrence effect of any anti-doping program also increases."

This underscores why it's important not just to improve testing methods, but to spread the word. A new generation of aspiring athletes will better understand the stakes and more readily decide to embrace the honor and joy of clean competition.

In an anti-doping context, Dr. Brailsford sees the use of dried blood as a valuable supplement to urine testing, with distinct advantages of its own.

"The key point about Mitra devices is that, in addition to the usual benefits associated with dried blood spots, you can also do accurate quantification, which is extremely useful across a very broad range of anti-doping scenarios," says Dr. Brailsford.

Much as work with microsampling in the detection of PEth is adding nuance and complexity to conversations around alcohol testing, the work of Dr. Brailsford and others like him highlights the lucidity that technology can bring to the science and research that drive the anti-doping movement.

If you work in this area, your success depends on using the smartest and most efficient technology available. It's time to check out microsampling technology for yourself. Contact us today to speak with one of our expert Microsampling Specialists and discover the benefits and advantages of this simple and remarkable blood collection system.

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