Billionaire Mark Cuban, the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and popular for his role on ABC’s Shark Tank, is funding the first clinical study on human growth hormone (HGH).
The two-year, $800,000 study at the University of Michigan was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under a special exemption, according to ESPN.
The study will investigate the effectiveness of human growth hormone to repair knee injuries and its consequences on the long-term health of users. For athletes who suffer ACL injuries, the thought of running after surgery can be daunting as some question whether the knee can ever regain its full strength through rehabilitation.
Track and field athletes have been accused of abusing human growth hormone in the past in pair with other performance-enhancing drugs. The use of human growth hormone is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency both in- and out-of-competition.
Two athletes were banned for the use of HGH at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, according to Wada.
“I love to test and challenge any schools of thought that have not been thought out,” Cuban wrote in an August email to ESPN’s Outside the Lines.
Tests for this study began in early 2015 with the study ongoing until 2017. Both researchers and patients (about to undergo ACL surgery for the first time) are unaware of which group is receiving human growth hormone and which is being treated with a placebo.
The length of each patient’s treatment is just six weeks to keep the clinical trial within a medical realm rather than for performance-enhancing purposes.