In two previous notes (see: Major Miscalculations by the AACC Regarding Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos; Conflict-of-Interest Disclosure for Society Members Who Plan Conferences?), I raised the issue of possible links between the AACC and Theranos. I raised this possibility because I thought that it was a possible explanation for the extraordinary AACC invitation to Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, to speak at the AACC annual meeting. Her lecture occurred after she had been barred for two years from the lab industry by federal regulators (see: Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos Is Barred From Running Lab for 2 Years). To restate the obvious, Holmes appearance before one of the major clinical lab professional societies did not seem appropriate. Rather than hash over details about her apparently failed previous analyzer called Edison, she then proceeded to introduce in her lecture a new analyzer, MiniLab, which is only in the early development stage (see: Theranos' Highly-Anticipated Defense of Its Tech Is Called a 'Bait-and-Switch').
A reader of Lab Soft News read my notes and suggested to me that I take a look at the membership of the Theranos Scientific and Medical Advisory Board for possible conflicts-of-interest with regard to the AACC. Interestingly enough, there were four of the eight members with tight links to the AACC. They are listed below:
Susan A. Evans, PhD, FACB
Dr. Evans has over 30 years of experience in diagnostics and health technology companies. She served as President, Secretary, and member of the Board of Directors for the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)....Dr. Evans also served as a member of the Board of Directors and President of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB), now the Academy of the AACC.
Ann M. Gronowski, PhD, DABCC
....She is a past President of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) and a past President of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC)....
Larry J. Kricka, D. Phil, FRCPath
....He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, and a member of the Editorial Board of Clinical Chemistry, and Analytical Biochemistry, and past editor-in-chief of Luminescence. He was President of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) in 2001....
Jack Ladenson, PhD, DABCC
....He has been active in a number of professional organizations and has served as President of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) and the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS). He is also a past chair of the Editorial Board of the journal Clinical Chemistry.....
So, there 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. Four of them served as president of the organization. Dr. Evans was also a president of the NACB which is part of the AACC. Both Drs. Kricka and and Ladenson have editorial connections to the journal Clinical Chemistry which is published by the AACC.
In yesterday's note, I suggested that the members of conference planing committees of professional societies post conflict-of-interest (COI) statements regarding their remunerative or investment relationships with companies serving the clinical lab industry. In light of this new information, I would now suggest the same recommendation apply to both past and present officers of the various lab and pathology medical societies.