A new test, developed by the GH-2004 team from three universities, detects the abuse of growth hormones in sporting events.
On Sep 8, the International Paralympic Committee had announced a two-year suspension of a couple of powerlifters following the detection of their doping with the growth hormone.
The new method is the world's first able to detect misuse of human growth hormone over a number of weeks. Previous methods could only detect abuse of the hormone over a shorter time period.
The GH-2004 team, based at the University of Southampton, has been developing the test over the last 10 years, funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and US Anti-Doping Agency, and working with the support of the UK Anti-Doping Agency.
Scientists from the Universities of Southampton, Kent, Canterbury and King's College London, based their test on the measurement of two proteins in the blood, insulin-like growth factor-I and the amino terminal pro-peptide of type III collagen, according to a Southampton statement.
Both of these proteins, which act as markers of growth hormone use, increase in response to growth hormone. The test was used for the first time by King's College London analysts at the anti-doping lab for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Richard Holt, professor of diabetes and endocrinology at Southampton, said: "We are pleased to have another effective and reliable means to catch cheats and help deter harmful drug misuse."
"There has been a tremendous amount of team work to develop this test and I am delighted that this dedication has finally succeeded. I would like to thank the World Anti-Doping Agency, US Anti-Doping and UK Anti-Doping for their support and trust in our work," said Holt.