In a blog note posted on August 9, 2016, I commented that four of the eight members of the Theranos Scientific and Medical Advisory Board at that time had close links to the AACC such as being past president of the organization or past president of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB), now the Academy of the AACC. Here is a quote from it:..."[T]here may be a ready explanation for the favoritism shown toward Elizabeth Holmes by the AACC. There is not much daylight between four of the eight members of the Theranos Scientific and Medical Advisory Board and the AACC." The next day, I received an email from Janet Kreizman, CEO of the AACC, which I presented in a blog note (see: Janet Kreizman, CEO of AACC, Responds to Previous Blog Notes about Theranos). Here's a quote from her email denying any conflicts-of-interest (COI) and that any member had a role in the invitation of Elizabeth Holmes to speak at the annual AACC meeting:
I want to be clear that no one on the AACC Board of Directors has any kind of financial agreement with Theranos, nor do those on the organizing committee for the meeting. You have noted that four of AACC’s past presidents are members of Theranos’ Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. This is true, but it is certainly not news, since media outlets have been reporting this fact since April. These past presidents -- while respected members of the association -- hold no decision-making authority at AACC and did not have any impact on the decision to have Elizabeth Holmes speak about Theranos’ technology at the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting. This decision was made by the current leadership at AACC.
A recent article in BioSpace commented on the tight-lipped status of the members of the Theranos scientific advisory board (see: The Scientific Advisors at Theranos Won't (or Can't) Talk). Below is an excerpt from it:
Theranos is well-known, or infamously known, for its fierce code of secrecy surrounding its blood-testing and miniature laboratory technologies. Not only does company leadership maintain this code of silence, but apparently that also extends to the company’s new scientific advisory board. Writing for the American Council on Scientific Health, Julianna Lemieux reached out to the members of Theranos’ scientific advisory board through email, but received a one-sentence reply that the members of the board would not discuss any aspects of their role at Theranos.....Theranos added noted scientists and medical officials to its scientific advisory board in April as part of an effort to bolster the company’s reputation and counter concerns about the failings of its technology. When the board was formed, Theranos said the new board members will work alongside company leadership in various areas, including “advising Theranos regarding the full integration of its technology into routine clinical practice, and publication and presentation in scientific journals and at scientific meetings.”
Here's a link to an article about the Theranos scientific advisory board including member names (see: Theranos bolsters scientific board after independent technology review). In the same way that I could not understand why the AACC invited Elizabeth Holmes to speak at the AACC annual meeting, I also can't understand why a lab scientist or physician would serve on the Theranos board after a continuing stream of penalties, sanctions, and warnings from the FDA (see: Theranos voluntarily withdraws Zika blood test from FDA approval). There are two very basic rules for IVD companies and reference labs: (1) generate accurate test results; and (2) respect the rules of the FDA.