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Development and use of Novel Technologies/Matrices to complement doping detection

Dried blood spot (DBS) detection methods for doping agents have been developed in the last two decades with the intention of using this technique to supplement routine testing programmes. Recently, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced the intention to use DBS at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games owing to the advantages of the DBS application in routine doping control. Therefore, the further development of detection methods for doping agents in DBS is important and urgent. WADA have launched a Technical Document that will confirm DBS as an approved method of sample collection and analysis and compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (WAD Code). This research will investigate the use of DBS application in doping analysis: sample collection, storage and assay validation as outlined by WADA. The technique will be applied to a range of analytes.

A DBS Sample is a blood sample that is collected by a puncture/incision of the skin (commonly the fingertip or upper arm) to access capillaries (small blood vessels) and the collection of small volumes of capillary blood onto an absorbent sample support which is then allowed to dry. This sampling technique offers several advantages over venous blood sampling for doping control, namely 1) less intrusive collection procedure, 2) quick and simple collection, 3) improved stability, negating the requirement for refrigeration during transport of sample, thereby reducing transport costs, and 4) analysis may be performed for some substances that may otherwise be more rapidly degraded in other specimen types. UKAD and the ITF are supporting the development of methods for DBS testing to include within their repertoire for doping control. DBS sampling would complement the current urine and venous blood sample testing programmes and enable targeting of greater numbers of athletes.


Dr Chris Walker

Postdoctoral Analyst

Stephanie Farrant

Senior Analyst-GC-MS

Cheyanne Pierre

GC-MS Analyst

Amanda Scarlett


Gillian Knight

Senior Quality Manager

Sugandhi Anand

Quality Officer

William Chih-Wei Chang

Assistant Professor

Nick Wojek

Head of Science & Medicine, UK Anti-Doping

Dr Nikola Costa

Research & Innovation Lead, UK Anti-Doping (UKAD)

Dr Neil Chester

Senior Lecturer

Stuart Miller

Head of Science & Technical, International Tennis Federation


  • To develop and validate robust analytical methods for the detection of prohibited substances in capillary blood specimens collected using DBS
  • To support UKAD and ITG to introduce DBS into their testing programme for routine doping control.


Hyphenated chromatography-mass spectrometry

Trials Design

In the field study and laboratory investigations

Summary of Findings



The DBS technique minimises invasiveness and reduces storage and shipping costs. The introduction of DBS as an adjunct to standard drug testing methods using blood and urine will enable greater numbers of athletes and greater numbers of samples.

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigators


Funding Body: UK Anti-Doping

Amount: £30,000

Period: January 2019 - January 2025

Funding Body: International Tennis Federation

Amount: As above

Period: January 2019 - January 2025