This is not another note about the machinations of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes per se. I have covered this topic in depth in the past. It's more about the recent invitation for her to lecture at the recent AACC annual meeting. Her appearance has been covered well by the Dark Daily (see: Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Presents Scientific Data to Clinical Laboratory Chemists and Pathologists at AACC in Philadelphia) and Bloomberg (see: Expecting Data From Theranos, Lab Experts Get New Product). Here's an excerpt from the Dark Daily article:
Theranos is known to embellish any links it might have with credible parties. To ensure no misunderstanding on the point about an AACC endorsement, when AACC President Patricia Jones, PhD, introduced Holmes, she took extra effort to declare that, in providing a forum for Theranos to present scientific data, AACC was not endorsing the company. Jones added the additional disclaimer that in no way was the association validating the data and technologies that were to be discussed by Holmes. However, when Holmes stepped up to the podium and began to speak, she delivered a curve ball to the audience. She did not present scientific data about the much-ballyhooed proprietary technology that her company has bragged about in recent years. Instead, Holmes introduced a new lab test product [MiniLab], along with data produced from recent correlation studies involving that lab testing device.
There is no possible justification for Elizabeth Holmes to have been invited to speak at the AACC which is a scientific organization for clinical laboratory professionals. Prior to her appearance, she had been sanctioned by CMS and barred from the industry for two years. What possible good could have come out of this appearance before lab professionals? Appropriately, her presentation has sparked serious infighting among some of the AACC members (see: Theranos founder’s conference invitation sparks row among scientists). Below is an excerpt from this second article:
A prestigious scientific organisation has descended into infighting over a decision to invite Elizabeth Holmes, founder of blood-testing group Theranos, to deliver a presentation at its annual conference this week, with at least two members of the association threatening to resign. The American Association for Clinical Chemistry invited Ms Holmes to deliver a 90-minute talk in front of 3,000 scientists...despite protests from some scientists responsible for organizing the conference, who argued that a series of damaging scandals at Theranos should disqualify the company. Ms Holmes had been expected to use the session to present scientific data in defence of her company’s proprietary blood-testing technology, including a tiny finger-prick vial or “nanotainer” that she claims can generate accurate test results without traditional needles or venous draws. However, Ms Holmes, whose company is under Federal criminal investigation, sidestepped past controversies and used her appearance to unveil a completely new machine, the MiniLab, which she said could enable small samples of blood to be analyzed remotely using cloud computing....Several scientists on the committee responsible for organising the meeting opposed the decision to invite Ms Holmes for fear that it would lend credibility to her company, while others decided to boycott the presentation in protest. They believe the association invited Ms Holmes to generate publicity.
In my opinion, AACC president Patricia Jones and other members who went along with this invitation have made two serious errors regarding Elizabeth Holmes. The first was inviting her to speak in the first place at a time when her reputation and that of Theranos was already in tatters. It was an inexcusable publicity grab and not worthy of the organization. The second mistake was not having gained some knowledge about the material she was actually going to present from the podium. The lecture turned out to be the promotion of a new analytic device which is not available in the market and has not been reviewed by the FDA. No other IVD company would have been allowed to take such liberties. These actions have resulted in the AACC becoming an object of national ridicule with damage to its reputation. There also needs to be some additional investigation of the remuneration, if any, the AACC received in exchange for inviting her to speak. I have the feeling that there was more at stake here than a mere interest in providing her a forum in the name of fair play.