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June 19, 2016 AT 2:28 pm

Home Blood Testing and Theranos Criminal Investigation

theranos

Theranos has a great idea. Prick your finger, put a tiny amount of blood in a nanotainer and mail it off. The “Edison” technology is utilized to run a bunch of blood tests at one of their two labs. Results show up in their app.

Theranos was able to come in at a fifth the price of it’s competitors, but had some accuracy issues. Having inaccurate blood test data has turned out to be a serious issue for Theranos. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began a federal investigation in late 2015. The founder Elizabeth Holmes is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission for defrauding investors.

As DIY hardware developers we can probably all understand that the accuracy of low cost sensors will have limitations, but can provide a great deal of useful data. Stepping up from the amateur to the professional level monitoring is a difficult transition. My hope is that the time of easy at home blood-testing is nearing. Theranos might have fast tracked their process a bit too much.  I personally would love to have weekly blood tests just to dial-in dietary issues  for maximum performance.

Sources:

Forbes

Wall Street Journal

Fast Company

OmicsHelpDesk

 


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3 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Holmes is a fraud. Lot’s of egg on people’s faces for calling her the next Steve Jobs.

  2. “Theranos was able to come in at a fifth the price of it’s competitors, but had some accuracy issues.”

    Understatement of the year.

    And that wasn’t even with their in-house, Edison instruments. It had to do with their inability to maintain proper quality control over the conventional equipment they had bought. This is equipment that any number of diagnostic labs have successfully managed for years. Theranos ran the vast majority of tests using conventional instruments after their Edison instruments couldn’t achieve consistency. Their President, board and scientific advisers were not up to understanding the problems and expertise required to produced a well-spec’d machine suitable to human use.

    The Edison instrument continues to struggle as there are some very real physical limitations getting reliable results from needle-stick drop samples. It is not at all clear whether it is possible for many assays. This is basic research that Theranos has attempted to bypass.

    Some observations about the Theranos melt-down:
    1) Biology is hard. Google is learning this as well.
    2) Medical treatments and diagnostics require extensive testing.

  3. “Theranos was able to come in at a fifth the price of it’s competitors, but had some accuracy issues.”

    Understatement of the year.

    And that wasn’t even with their in-house, Edison instruments. It had to do with their inability to maintain proper quality control over the conventional equipment they had bought. This is equipment that any number of diagnostic labs have successfully managed for years. Theranos ran the vast majority of tests using conventional instruments after their Edison instruments couldn’t achieve consistency. Their President, board and scientific advisers were not up to understanding the problems and expertise required to produced a well-spec’d machine suitable to human use.

    The Edison instrument continues to struggle as there are some very real physical limitations getting reliable results from needle-stick drop samples. It is not at all clear whether it is possible for many assays. This is basic research that Theranos has attempted to bypass.

    Some observations about the Theranos melt-down:
    1) Biology is hard. Google is learning this as well.
    2) Medical treatments and diagnostics require extensive testing.

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