Amateur cyclist caught doping with drug delisted for humans after killing rats

Posted on: June 11th, 2018

WADA was so worried the withdrawn drug would be used for doping it took the unusual step of warning those planning to cheat to steer clear of it.


Cyclist was doping with drug withdrawn from trials on rats


An amateur track cyclist in the United States has been banned for a doping offence involving a drug that was withdrawn from pharmaceutical trials.

The substance – GW501516 – was tested on rats, resulting in tumours and premature death. Those results saw the drug withdrawn from the testing phase.

In initial tests the performance of mice was greatly improved by the substance. However, further testing on rats and  mice found it later resulted in cancer developing in their organs.

It has been deemed unfit for human consumption. Though it is not approved, it has been available on the online black market and is being used as a performance enhancer.

The World Anti Doping Agency become so concerned it was being used for doping that it took the unusual step of warning those planning to cheat to stay away from it.

“The side effect of this chemical compound is so serious that WADA is taking the rare step of warning ‘cheats’ to ensure that there is complete awareness of the possible health risks to athletes who succumb to the temptation of using GW501516 for performance enhancement,” WADA said in a warning statement five years ago.

“GW501516 was a developmental drug that was withdrawn from research by the pharmaceutical company.

“(It was) terminated when serious toxicities were discovered in pre-clinical studies. Clinical approval has not, and will not be given for this substance.

“However, GW501516 has been available for some months on the black market, through the internet and elsewhere.

“Anti-Doping authorities have already seen its use by athletes, as there are a number of positive cases. Please pass this information on to your athletes as soon as possible.”

Despite that warning, Roger Ainslie, of Fallbrook, California, has tested positive for the drug. The 26-year-old was caught at the US track championships last August.

He accepted his violation and because his admission came early his four-year ban was reduced by six months.

“GW1516, also known as GW501516, is an experimental drug that was terminated by the pharmaceutical company after serious toxicities occurred during pre-clinical studies,” the US Anti Doping Agency said in its just-published decision in the case.

“In 2013, WADA issued an alert warning that GW1516, which is not approved by the FDA, is being sold illegally on the black market and obtained by athletes.

“Ainslie’s 42-month period of ineligibility began on August 3, 2017, the date his positive sample was collected.

“In addition, Ainslie has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to August 3, 2017, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.”