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Quality Assurance

  Racing Chemistry

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Quality Assurance


The ISU RC program is accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, (AAVLD) through the World Health, (OiE).

ISU RC currently participates in external proficiency programs offered by the Association of Racing Chemists (AORC) and the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI).   In addition, the ISU RC participates with other laboratories in a testing exchange program.

ISU RC has an independent QA/QC staff that ensures sample integrity, testing relevance, accuracy and reproducibility.  Contact Renee Novak at 515-294-1210 or rnovak@iastate.edu.


External Quality Assurance

RCI - Association of Racing Commissioners International

Our laboratory has been a full member of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners (NASRC) Quality Assurance (QA) program since January 1, 1986. We have completed and submitted our sample results to Ohio State University successfully during this time period. Since the inception of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) replacement program, we have continued to participate. Note that ISU RC was selected as the only reference center to provide greyhound testing. We serve as the focal point to greyhound testing laboratories by providing known, unknown, and in the future, blind sample, by assisting in analyzing difficult unknown samples for member jurisdiction and providing methodology and test results to member laboratories.

AORC - Association of Racing Chemists

Members of the ISU-RC laboratory have been members in the AORC since the laboratories inception.  Several have served on various committees and as President of the National and International boards.  The AORC provides a proficiency set one time a year.  This proficiency set provides a system check of the laboratories abilities of sample log in, sample analysis and sample reporting.  The PT set is sent as an Open blind and labs report back their findings.  Results are given back and a certificate is issued if a laboratory meets the testing requirements.

Canine Sample Exchange Program:

The ISU RC has participated in a greyhound samples exchange program with the Department of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, (DPMW) laboratory at The University of Florida since 2008.  Samples previously declared “negative” by both laboratories are exchanged and subjected to the other laboratory’s screening methodology.  As a result, any deficiencies in the primary laboratory’s methods should be explained and clarified.

IITP – International Inter-laboratory Testing Program/Canine

The IITP canine program is set up to allow laboratories to determine their performance in identifying prohibited substances, parent and metabolite(s) in administration urines.  The ISU RC laboratory currently acts as the canine coordinating laboratory, which has to provide this international proficiency testing since 1996.  This program provides information on performance characteristics of methods and provides reference material for conformational procedures.  Some of these drugs are extremely difficult to analyze and are sent out to the field as blinds to determine if laboratories would be able to screen by the normal screening procedures.

The IITP provides approximately 3 sets of 12 samples per year.  Each set contains aliquots of post-administration samples for three different drugs at three different concentrations.  Some of these drugs are extremely difficult to analyze and are sent out to the files as blinds to determine if laboratories would be able to screen by the normal screening procedures. 

IDTA – Interstate Drug Testing Alliance/Equine

The IDTA equine program is ISU RC’s commitment to ongoing research to help provide leading edge drug testing research as a service relevant to the U.S. pari-mutuel industry.  This program  investigates drug metabolism and kinetics and drug metabolism in the equine athlete.  Along with sample sets of urine and or blood collected at specific time points post dose, we supply a data packet containing method development and analyte characterization.  This includes extraction work and instrumental interpretation. 

Another aspect of the IDTA-equine program is the double blind sample submission.  Each blind is made up of an aliquot of post-administration urine which contains parent drug and or metabolites.  The program requires the cooperation of the jurisdiction and their track veterinarians.  Samples are submitted to track personnel.  The samples are submitted to the laboratory as part of the daily track samples.  Testing is done by the laboratory and results are reported to the jurisdictional authorities.  This tests each labs total system for chain of custody, sample log-in, sample analysis and sample reporting.


ISU Racing Chemistry administers the following programs:

Out-of-House Double Blind

This program requires the cooperation of the jurisdiction. Blank or spiked urines are submitted by the laboratory supervisor or QA officer to the contractual jurisdiction which resubmits the sample along with its “regular” track samples to the laboratory. This allows for total test system verification. No special testing can occur and regular detection, identification, and confirmation abilities can be determined.

Out-of-House Double Blinds

These samples are identical to In-House Blinds except for the mode of delivery to the track. The testing laboratory has its total test system verified. The QA officer will intercept results from Out-of-House Double Blinds to prevent false results from confusing the track officials. In the event of a missed or incorrect Double Blind result, the Laboratory Supervisor will be notified for further instructions.

External QAs done over the past 5 years
External QA 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
  Correct    Total Correct    Total Correct    Total Correct    Total Correct    Total
IITP-Canine 3        3 3        3 6        6   3        3
IITP-Equine 14        18 **        ** **        ** **        ** **        **
AORC-Equine 5        6 6        6 6        6 6        6 5        6
Double Blinds       2        2  

                      **Program discontinued for 2008.


Internal Quality Assurance

ISU Racing Chemistry has extensive, in-depth Quality Assurance programs in place.

In-House QA Blinds

In house QA blind samples are prepared by spiking previously analyzed negative equine and canine samples with drugs of appropriate relevance to the pari-mutuel industry. Drugs for inclusion in the internal QA testing cover the range of drug classes and new drugs are consistently added to the list.

ISU Racing Chemistry has a designed in-house QA program to:

  • ensure confidence with which the laboratory's work can be viewed. ISU RC has utilized an aggressive internal QA program to improve and monitor the laboratory's capabilities.
  • define analyte limit of detection (LOD), and to determine if there is a need for an alternate method of analysis from the classically accepted methods.
  • ensure consistent and predictable analytical results day-to-day and analyst-toanalyst.

In-House Open Blind Samples

In-house open blind samples are used to verify the correct operation of various procedures. The samples consist of urine or plasma spiked with agents of interest at levels near the laboratory's detection capabilities. In-house open blind samples are run with every batch of specimens. The results are evaluated by the QA officer in a timely fashion so that problems or technical difficulties can be detected immediately.

In-House Known Spikes

In-house known spike concentrations are used to determine the most efficacious of the fractionation/detection procedures and to determine the characteristics and limits of detection of a new drug/metabolite.


Number of In-House Quality control samples for 2009/2010


These numbers represent urine, blood, NSAID, immunoassay and TCO2 testing

Urine and Blood Extraction 2009 2010 2011
Total samples 51,658 50,111 59,871
Negative controls 1,410 1,262 1,046
Positive controls 2,899 2,758 2,891
Blinds 1,284 1,136 1,053