Gene and Cell Doping : The New Frontier - Beyond Myth or Reality / Elmo W.I. Neuberger, Perikles Simon. - (Medicine and sport science 62 (2017) 2 June; p. 91-106)
- PMID: 28578328
- DOI: 10.1159/000465456
The advent of gene transfer technologies in clinical studies aroused concerns that these technologies will be misused for performance-enhancing purposes in sports. However, during the last 2 decades, the field of gene therapy has taken a long and winding road with just a few gene therapeutic drugs demonstrating clinical benefits in humans. The current state of gene therapy is that viral vector-mediated gene transfer shows the now long-awaited initial success for safe, and in some cases efficient, gene transfer in clinical trials. Additionally, the use of small interfering RNA promises an efficient therapy through gene silencing, even though a number of safety concerns remain. More recently, the development of the molecular biological CRISPR/Cas9 system opened new possibilities for efficient and highly targeted genome editing. This chapter aims to define and consequently demystify the term "gene doping" and discuss the current reality concerning gene- and cell-based physical enhancement strategies. The technological progress in the field of gene therapy will be illustrated, and the recent clinical progress as well as technological difficulties will be highlighted. Comparing the attractiveness of these technologies with conventional doping practices reveals that current gene therapy technologies remain unattractive for doping purposes and unlikely to outperform conventional doping. However, future technological advances may raise the attractiveness of gene doping, thus making it easier to develop detection strategies. Currently available detection strategies are introduced in this chapter showing that many forms of genetic manipulation can already be detected in principle.