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Olympics antidoping labs set for new role

As the debate rages in the UK about whether or not the “Olympic Legacy” will bring lasting benefits to the country as a whole or just sports clubs and a select few in south London, comes news of one Olympic facility that is changing roles for the benefit of millions.

The Anti-Doping Science Centre (ADSC), which is based in Harlow, Essex, conducted over 6000 drug tests on athletes throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games and is now destined to become the world’s first national phenome centre.

A phenome describes a person’s chemistry—all the molecules in the blood, urine and tissue that are the result of an individual’s genetics and lifestyle.

It changes in response to genetic mutation and environmental influences and measuring the phenome can provide information about the causes of disease.

In its Olympic role, ADSC analysed thousands of biological samples, but as the phenome centre, it will analyse samples by the millions.

“It’s a really big deal. No one has ever done phenotyping on this scale before,” says Jeremy K. Nicholson, a professor of biological chemistry at Imperial College London and the man who conceived the phenome centre.

The centre will be the world’s first publicly and privately funded labs to combine analytical science, epidemiology and clinical expertise with a view to better understanding the causes, mechanisms, treatment and monitoring of disease.

It will develop the next generation of metabolic testing methods and make the U.K. the world leader in analytical chemistry with the first in a series of such centres that will share data from national populations.

It will lead to a more efficient breed of analytical chemistry, providing the basis for new medicines and greater understanding about hazardous chemicals in the environment.

London’s Olympic Games have been widely acknowledged as being an outstanding success and fittingly, the new direction of their anti-doping labs is on track to become a fitting legacy.

Source: Chemical & Engineering News

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