Abstract for: Modeling The Pharmacodynamics of rHuEPO, a Blood Doping Drug (Dana Meadows Award Winner)
For this study, a model to analyze the dynamic effects of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO), a very popular and hard to detect blood doping drug, is constructed. rHuEPO is the synthetic version of erythropoietin hormone which is responsible for the red blood cell production. Erythropoietin hormone is regulated in the body depending on the changes in blood oxygen levels due to various external factors such as a change in altitude and a change in the oxygen ratio in the surrounding environment. Many athletes train at high altitudes to increase their red blood cell count and, thus, the oxygen capacity of their blood. Accordingly, EPO regulation structure and the pathways of rHuEPO in the body and their effects on red blood cells are included into the model. The tests aiming to detect the usage of rHuEPO is mainly carried out by screening the various blood values affected by rHuEPO, which. are the hematocrit value, hemoglobin concentration and reticulocyte count. We show that the model is consistent with the relevant literature and data. Then, we create three scenarios and analyze the resulting dynamics of EPO and relevant blood values: (1) rHuEPO usage; (2) altitude training; (3) altitude training together with rHuEPO usage. We present some insights for anti-doping organizations.