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Broad Consensus Obtained in the Fourth Gene and Cell Doping Symposium


On June 5-6, 2013, the Fourth Gene and Cell Doping Symposium that first set up the cell therapy and the formal unit of doping was held in Beijing. The Symposium attracted more than 70 international participants such as the leading experts in gene therapy, and the scientists from the field of anti-doping and the field of sports ethics to discuss the developing gene doping detection methods, and the Symposium reached a broad consensus.

In the Symposium, Arne Ljungqvist, the vice president of WADA and the WADA Health, Medical and Research Committee Director proposed such a question: “More recently, cell therapy has been a topic for discussion if such therapy could be deviated to enhance an athlete’s performance, if so, shall we stop it?”

“The boundaries between therapy and enhancement from both technical and ethical perspectives must be better defined,” added Prof. Ljungqvist, “With the growing potential of genetic cures for muscle diseases and blood disorders comes the growing threat of misuse by the world of sport.”

But on the other hand, genes can also be used to develop new promising detection tools, which may revolutionize the current approach to anti-doping. The Symposium explored the highly promising results of gene-based indirect detection methods that have the potential to detect doping by different classes of substances or methods.

Ethical and philosophical considerations of gene doping were also addressed at the Symposium. “It is important that anti-doping considerations are connected to societal values,” Prof. Theodore Friedmann, Chair of WADA’s Gene and Cell Doping Panel said. “The Symposium offered the opportunity for the scientists to discuss the ethical and philosophical implications of scientific and medical anti-doping activities, particularly the impact of genetically-related doping on society.”

“The Symposium offered a platform for anti-doping researchers and thought leaders to meet and exchange. There is also a shared opportunity for local, regional and national members of the anti-doping community in China, including CHINADA and BODA, to participate as co-chairs, presenters, and active participants in the event’s many lively discussions,” said Mr. Zhao Jian, CHINADA Deputy Director General.

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