Testosterone doping is more complex to ascertain than the use of most other anabolic steroids since testosterone is naturally produced and excreted by both men and women. Natural testosterone molecules are impossible to differentiate from their synthetic copies using regular mass spectrometric methods and testosterone doping cases can obviously not be demonstrated by the mere presence of testosterone and/or its metabolites in urine. GC-C-IRMS is the gold standard in the field of anti-doping to unambiguously determine whether the testosterone in an athlete’s urine sample originated “from the body or from the bottle”.
The laboratory analyzes more than 2000 GC-C-IRMS samples annually, more than double that of any other anti-doping laboratory worldwide. The laboratory provides anti-doping analysis to many different sports, but their major client is the Major Leagues Baseball (MLB) in the USA. The MLB has implemented what is currently considered to be the most extensive anti-doping program in US professional sports, prescribing IRMS testing for all of their players at least once per season. Since the implementation of this ‘IRMS screening’, no testosterone dopers have been caught in the MLB, attesting to the efficacy of this type of program at deterring athletes that are contemplating doping and ensuring the integrity of the sport.
As a leading laboratory for GC-C-IRMS in anti-doping control, INRS had used instruments from another manufacturer for several years. When Vancouver was chosen to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games the IRNS laboratory was naturally tasked to provide the anti-doping control for the event. It was at this time that INRS evaluated the performance of the available GC-C-IRMS systems and decided to purchase two Elementar IRMS systems for the event. Following the great success of these instruments, a third Elementar IRMS system was purchased to handle the increased sample demand brought about by the MLB contract.