Sweat-sensing biowearables for doping control 

Sweat-sensing biowearables for doping control 

Epicore Biosystems, a digital health solutions company developing advanced sweat-sensing wearables to provide real-time personalised hydration insights for performance and safety, and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) have partnered to bring Epicore’s novel biosensing capabilities to the anti-doping world as a new drug detection method to complement existing urine and blood collections. 

In the battle for safe and fair sport, there is no room for stagnation, making it imperative that innovators across industries unite to explore how the latest technologies and solutions can improve anti-doping detection and deterrence efforts to better serve clean athletes. The collaboration aims to do just that. Epicore’s sweat collection device not only offers the opportunity for more collections, but also makes the collection process as convenient and non-invasive as possible for athletes while offering the intriguing possibility of giving real-time health data back to athletes to optimise their performance. 

To date, athletes have been required to submit blood and/or urine samples for anti-doping efforts, which can be time-consuming and feel invasive for athletes. The Epicore and USADA partnership aims to dramatically improve the status quo by providing a non-invasive, wearable approach to conventional screening using biomarkers and drug detection in sweat. The technology could be especially valuable for in-competition testing to minimise the impact of doping control during a time when athletes face significant demands on their time and bodies. 

“We are redefining hydration recovery and performance management with a suite of sweat-sensing products that bring value to organisations and people across sports, consumer health and industrial sectors. Partnering with USADA adds an entirely new dimension to our offerings, enabling analysis of new biomarkers to support athletes everywhere,” said Matt Marrapode, Vice President of Strategy at Epicore Biosystems. “This collaboration signifies a shared vision to empower athletes with tools that optimise their performance, while upholding the principles of fair play and a level playing field for all.” 

The collaboration began in 2023 with a proof-of-concept study, which revealed the ability to easily and reliably collect a sweat sample from multiple locations on the body that is suitable for drug analyses from an exercising athlete. Epicore and USADA are continuing exploratory research work to better understand the viability and application of sweat as a drug screening matrix that is less burdensome for athletes while also providing them with valuable hydration health insights for performance, recovery and resilience. 

“USADA is constantly evaluating new technologies and innovative solutions from various industries to address the latest and most pressing problems in anti-doping,” said Dr Matthew Fedoruk, Chief Scientific Officer at USADA. “The partnership with Epicore allows us to achieve this mission with breakthrough biomedical research using the Discovery Patch to unlock the utility of sweat, which both expands our anti-doping capabilities and our service to clean athletes.” 

Epicore develops advanced wearable solutions that capture sweat and measure its bio-composition in real-time, providing customised insights about hydration, stress, nutrition and disease progression — all captured with unobtrusive wearable sweat sensors and analysed through a proprietary cloud engine. The Discovery Patch is a single-use, flexible wearable microfluidic patch that is designed to be soft and compatible for wear on the skin. 

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