National Body Commits Funding To Further Drug Research

Friday 24 July 2009


The Board of Greyhounds Australasia (GA) in continuing with its strategy of improving code integrity today announced a further funding commitment in the area of detection of prohibited substances.

GA, in partnership with the Australian Greyhound Veterinary Association (AGVA), Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL), Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) and Queensland Racing Science Centre has thus established parameters for additional research into three substances which are prohibited in the racing greyhound.

Firstly, GA has engaged the services of the ARFL in conjunction with the Queensland Racing Science Centre to advance testing methodologies associated with the registered veterinary preparation Fertagyl.

Fertagyl is also known as gonadotrophin hormone (GnRH), luteinising hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) and gonadorelin. Its primary intended used is for the treatment of cystic ovaries and other fertility related conditions in cattle, but anecdotally Fertagyl is suspected as a possible stimulant in the racing greyhound.

Secondly, the services of RASL have been employed, effective 1 July 2009 to review and refine the methodologies associated with the four major forms of Erythropoietin (EPO);

  • Epoietin alpha, “Eprex”, the original EPO
  • Darbepoietin alpha, “Aranesp”, a long acting form of EPO
  • Epoietin beta, “NeoRecormon”, another form of EPO
  • Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator, “CERA”, the most recent form of EPO

EPO is a naturally occurring hormone produced by cells in the kidneys that regulate the production of red blood cells in bone marrow. These kidney cells are sensitive to low blood oxygen content and will release EPO when oxygen is low. EPO stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells (to increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood). Artificial EPO was designed n 1989 to help people with kidney diseases that were chronically anemic.

The use of EPO is believed to increase oxygen absorption, reduce fatigue and improve endurance by increasing the rate of red cell production. It is also believed that EPO increases the metabolism and the healing process of muscles because the extra red cells carry more oxygen and nutrients.

Thirdly, RASL have kindly agreed to refine processes on the detection of: 

  • Synacthen (ACTH) also commonly known as “Hydrocortisone”, and
  • Injectable hydrocortisone (SoluCortef) Today, GA Chairman Jan Wilson stated, “That improved drug detection is a key strategy of the GA Board.”

“The Board also expresses gratitude to Dr John Vine (RASL) and Mr Andrew McKinney (ARFL) for their continued support of greyhound racing”.

Through the completion of this research, at world standard Australasian Laboratories, the Board of Greyhounds Australasia is confident that its strategy of improving code integrity will enhance an even playing field for all participants.

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