Colorado Springs, Colo. (March 1, 2018) – The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on March 1, 2018 announced the launch of a pilot program for a new blood collection process designed to advance the athlete experience, enable more blood collections, and increase sample longevity.
The process will utilize TAP™, the world’s first push-button blood collection device, through a partnership between USADA and Seventh Sense Biosystems, Inc. (7SBio). Within minutes, and without creating discomfort for the athlete, a small amount of blood is collected and stored inside this state-of-the-art device.
“We all know that blood collections can be unnerving,” said Dr. Matthew Fedoruk, USADA’s Senior Managing Director of Science and Research. “This new device offers far more flexibility than existing blood draw methods, while advancing a painless collection method. Currently, around 10 percent of total samples collected from participating athletes worldwide are blood, due in large part to the complexities and expense surrounding existing blood collection procedures. If this pilot program proves successful, we believe this innovation will drive advancement in global anti-doping practices, making it easier for athletes to give, and anti-doping agencies to collect, ship, and analyze, blood samples around the world.”
The new program is initially being introduced to UFC® athletes, but WADA-accredited laboratories and other global anti-doping partners will also play an integral role in evaluating and adopting these new technologies designed to benefit athletes worldwide, including doping detection and deterrence programs in Olympic, Paralympic and emerging sport. “It’s an amazing new tool that has the potential to increase doping deterrence and more easily introduce young athletes in an athlete-friendly way to the anti-doping process,” said Dr. Fedoruk.
The TAP device received FDA clearance in early 2017 for the determination of HbA1c, a biomarker used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor diabetes. The device also supports USADA’s larger effort to evaluate alternative testing methods, including the use of dried blood spot testing (DBS). Recent peer-reviewed published scientific studies have shown that DBS testing provides a complementary testing method to current blood collections for a wide range of substances and biomarkers, while also enabling longer storage of blood samples and increasing reanalysis potential as new detection methods become available.
“The introduction of the TAP device in USADA’s anti-doping efforts will result in a simple, convenient, and virtually painless experience for all athletes who are subject to testing,” said Stuart Blitz, Chief Business Officer for Seventh Sense Biosystems. “We believe the TAP device will help advance clean competition on a global scale for generations to come, as the new standard in blood collection. Seventh Sense Biosystems is also developing TAP devices that will enable self-collection at home, in addition to quicker and easier blood collections across the medical and healthcare industry.”
More information about the TAP device and DBS testing is available here: FAQ and Step-by-Step Guide.