GE to bring anti-doping imaging system to London Olympics
GE Healthcare is providing the first-ever electronic medical records to the 2012 Olympics. It's also offering advanced imaging technology to help sniff out athletes' use of performance-enhancing drugs.
[See also: GE brings EMRs, analytics to London 2012 Olympics.]
GE Healthcare Life Sciences' ImageQuant LAS4000 is a biomolecular imager that officials say could play a key role in the testing process for recombinant erythropoietin (EPO), a performance-enhancing drug that can be used to boost the number of red blood cells – enabling vastly improved oxygen flow, which increases an athlete's endurance.
The EPO test will be one of many undertaken during the Games at the new Anti-Doping Science Centre in Harlow, Essex, which is billed as the most advanced drug testing laboratory in the history of the Olympics.
GlaxoSmithKline, the official lab services provider for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games, will provide facilities and equipment to enable analysts from King's College London to independently operate a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory. Professor David Cowan, director of the Drug Control Center at King's College, will oversee this lab.
"Usually we test approximately 7,000 samples a year but during the Olympic Games, we will test 5,000 samples in just 17 days and around 1,250 samples during the Paralympic Games," said Christiaan Bartlett, a certifying analyst who works with Cowan. "The advances in digital imaging in the last 10 years means the LAS4000 can capture a high quality image with great sensitivity, and with short exposure times."
[See also: Hospital to image athletes at 2012 Olympics.]
The ImageQuant technology offers "extremely detailed information," he added. "This will help us to accurately identify doping with recombinant EPO and help protect the rights of the clean athlete to compete on a level playing field."
"We're delighted that our ImageQuant has been chosen by Professor Cowan and his team at the Olympic anti-doping laboratory as a key part of their work there," said Johan von Heijne, head of research products at GE Healthcare Life Sciences.
In addition to being used at the London Games, ImageQuant is used by a number of World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratories. It is also used by scientists worldwide to support research into the next generation of drug therapies.