AACC reveals details of its invitation to Theranos CEO

Elizabeth Holmes will present data, answer science questions only

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This is an excerpt from a 925-word article in the May 23 issue of THE DARK REPORT. The complete article is available to paid members of the Dark Intelligence Group. 

AACC logo - TheranosCEO SUMMARY: In its latest lab industry scoop, THE DARK REPORT has reached out to American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) leaders to find out how Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, came to be invited to present scientific data at the upcoming AACC annual conference in July. This exclusive interview reveals the basic details of her invitation, how her presentation will take place, and what types of questions will be accepted from an audience full of clinical chemists and clinical pathologists.

IS ELIZABETH HOLMES, THE FOUNDER and CEO of Theranos, Inc., finally going to describe how her company’s devices work for finger-stick blood collection and small-sample-size testing? Will she also present data showing the clinical utility of the processes Theranos uses?

Clinical laboratory professionals may learn the answers to these questions and others surrounding the Theranos story on August 1 when Holmes is scheduled to address a special session at the Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry in Philadelphia.

In April, AACC announced that Holmes would address AACC members during a 90-minute session at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. At least half of the time will be devoted to questions from association members, stated AACC President Patricia M. Jones, PhD.

“She’s promised us the science; she’s promised us the data. We’re just providing a forum,” explained Jones, who is the Clinical Director of Chemistry at the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. “In recent years, the AACC members, myself included, have regularly asked, ‘Where’s the science?’

“Now we have the opportunity to see the science during this session,” she continued. “And, not only will we hear her presentation, but there will also be a real-time question-and-answer period for our members to ask unvetted questions of Elizabeth Holmes. We’re looking forward to this opportunity.”

The AACC meeting will not address the regulatory questions dogging the company, such as pending Theranos CLIA sanctions. Instead, the focus will be on the science and technology Holmes and her team at Theranos have developed.

When it announced the event, AACC said Holmes would answer questions to clarify the science, accuracy, and reliability of Theranos’ technologies and its effect on patient care and safety. Unlike many other groups Holmes has addressed in recent years, AACC members have the knowledge and experience in clinical laboratory science to assess the science and data Holmes will present.

“We invited her to bring other science people with her if she wants to do that,” commented Jones. “We said, ‘Bring whoever you need to bring to explain the science and the data.’”

“What’s most exciting about this session is that we are experts in this field. Science and technology is what we do,” emphasized Jones. “So, in that way, we can ask the best questions to make sense of the technology Theranos uses. That is one reason we hope that good things will come out of this meeting.

“It’s important for every lab, including Theranos, to put the science and data out there so that other scientists know what is being done,” she said. “That’s what makes this meeting a prime opportunity to begin vetting their science and their data.

“Scientists prefer to be open about what they are doing,” noted Jones. “We want to share what we’re learning and developing with our colleagues. Doing so helps us to move diagnostic technology forward because when we are open about what we do, our discoveries and our technology get vetted by lots of people.”

Since 2014, AACC has asked Holmes to address its annual scientific meeting and Holmes has declined in each of the previous two years, Jones said.

What impact — if any — will the science and data Holmes will reveal on August 1 have on the clinical lab industry? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


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