back to article Theranos bins two years of test results

The controversial blood-testing company Theranos has voided two years of results and issued tens of thousands of corrected reports, further undermining its credibility and raising serious questions over its future. The discarded results were run both on traditional testing machines and on Theranos' "revolutionary" Edison …

  1. ideapete
    Thumb Down

    Sadly this Says it all = Theranos has itself become a byline for a tech company that misleads people

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this happened in the NHS would we ever know?

    1. Triggerfish

      Depends, do you follow the news?

    2. Ian Easson

      You would know because...

      government agencies like the NHS are held to a far higher standard than for-profit companies like the one in question.

    3. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

      I don't quite understand how it happened, even in the US, but in the UK, machines which had not been validated wouldn't be licensed for clinical use.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        They turned out not to of been FDA approved.

  3. Michael Jarve

    ""Excellence in quality and patient safety is our top priority..."

    If that were the case, and not being obsessed with becoming next multi-billion dollar unicorn, they'd never have to take their ".... comprehensive corrective measures..." This is playing games with peoples lives strictly for profit.

    1. KA1AXY

      You would not expect a special snowflake who has not completed university to know this, although one could argue that she should have. You WOULD expect venture capitalists and others lending their names and cash to a startup to have a much more skeptical view and to have done true due diligence. Those caught out by the Theranos hype (with the exception, of course, of the innocent patients) richly deserve their fate.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        >special snowflake who has not completed university to know this

        Not sure if this is a shot solely at millenials but plenty of mission critical sh1t out in the real world was built/developed by companies started by people without degrees. Stuff you may well have been using for decades.

        >You WOULD expect venture capitalists

        No you wouldn't. They invest in lots of companies and pray.

        >Those caught out by the Theranos hype (with the exception, of course, of the innocent patients) richly deserve their fate.

        I agree that CEO should go to jail but sadly Walgreens will probably get off scot free even though they bought into the hype to save a few bucks at the expense of their patients.

        1. KA1AXY

          Nope. Not buying what you're selling. I worked hard at uni to become the best engineer I could, and have spent my entire life learning. I have met a few who never finished uni and went on to become great engineers, but by far the best and brightest managers and developers I have met have been the first to admit they do not have all the answers and need to keep learning. You stand a much better chance of creating a breakthrough if you have experience in the field.

          I refuse to admit that the Theranos CEO knew enough about biology, testing or medicine to start that company. She took a leap of faith, based on flimsy understanding and youthful optimism, and sold it to others, who are at fault for not doing due diligence. You do understand that term, I hope, as it is crucial to making intelligent investment decisions. If you do not understand the tech in which you plan to invest, find someone who does, and have them dig deep before you invest. Clearly, that was not done, and the result is that a lot of folks were taken in by Elizabeth Holmes and her unfounded optimism.

          Real progress comes by hard work much more frequently than it does from an outsiders inspired guesswork. Holmes took a guess and her lack of background or experience caught up with her.

          1. asdf Silver badge

            How many of those break throughs involved Microsoft Windows in some way or another (if nothing else for the Power point presentations)? That was a company started by a couple of college dropouts. Often times they are the ones to take the big risk because they don't have a cushy six figure white collar job to fall back on. I will readily admit though for biotech companies the situation is different (a lot of them come directly out of public research institutions) and her lack of qualifications has been a red flag from the beginning.

            1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

              That was a company started by a couple of college dropouts.

              That works (or used to work) in computer science and computer engineering. You could start that with two blokes in a garage.

              As someone who is officially a Molecular Biology dropout (I never completed my second degree in that) and has a SWMBO with 20+ patents in diagnostics using ultra-small samples and at some point held the position of a CSO in a diagnostics company, I can tell you that there is no way in hell, on earth or otherwise it can work out in molecular biology or diagnostics.

              You cannot start that with two blokes and a garage - the amount of up-front technological and scientific investment to start a successful biotech startup is of orders of magnitude larger than for CS.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                the amount of up-front technological and scientific investment to start a successful biotech startup is of orders of magnitude larger than for CS

                Sure, but that doesn't contradict asdf's actual claim, which is that some useful technology has been created by people who do not hold degrees.

                I'm a fan of university degrees myself - I have three of the things, and nearly finished a fourth (and who knows, if I ever get the time...). And there is clearly much ignorance (some probably willful), and quite possibly some fraud, at work in the whole Theranos debacle. But asdf is correct that KA1AXY's jab at people who do not hold degrees is a faulty generalization.

  4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge
    Coat

    Flybynight Phlebotomy

    Now where's my coat?

  5. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So we can safely assume those reports of pandemic levels of lycanthropy, vampirism and The Andromeda Strain are discredited?

    What if, hypothetically, word of some of the results of blood tests people had sent to Theranos had leaked out and, for example, vigilante-like groups of concerned citizens had conducted sweeping purges of the reportedly-infected as a medical precaution in the interests of the larger population lest a cordon-sanitaire be thrown around the town by the army?

  6. ST Silver badge
    Mushroom

    why is Theranos still a thing?

    The WSJ article explains that Theranos' Millenial-Bimbo CEO is displeased with the idea of being banned for two years only from the US health care industry.

    In the US of A, one can be sent to prison for smoking pot. But banning a fraudster CEO from the industry they defrauded, that's cruel and unusual punishment.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: why is Theranos still a thing?

      I can one up you on a millennial female business leader deserving jail time for health care company fraud.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_Gibson

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: why is Theranos still a thing?

      It's not just her, but the whole C-Suite should see some serious jail time. Banishment is basically somewhere below a verbal warning since it's industry specific. I wonder how many patients got the wrong treatment or no treatment based on their "test results" and died. This is beyond a mere travesty.

    4. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      There ain't no justice, else.

      Theranos, meet Thanatos.

  7. Youngone Silver badge

    Maybe I should keep up.

    This last I heard CEO Elizabeth Holmes was the poster child for young female CEO's and someone to be admired.

    I'm pretty sure there is still a certain demographic that still thinks this.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to get in on these scams

    1. Get a junk MBA and some fancy PR blurb

    2. Promise a brand new secret tech soon to be worth billions

    3. Put up a website with pseudo-scientific/outlandish bullshit

    4. Get some free interns with STEM degrees desperate for work, and prepared to lie to keep it

    5. Ask the VC science-illiterate community for millions of dollars

    6. Talk a load of shite promising a break thru soon

    7. Ask for even more money whilst delivering nothing

    8. PROFIT

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to get in on these scams

      You missed 7.1 Recruit the highest profile board that money can buy to give false air of respectability and extend the life of your con

      1. Ian Easson

        Re: How to get in on these scams

        Including Kissinger.

        He must be really, really desperate in his final years for a few extra bucks from being a director.

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: How to get in on these scams

          He must be really, really desperate in his final years

          Perhaps his test results suggested he was going to need a lot of expensive treatment...

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: How to get in on these scams

      Actually point 5 should be woe greedy VCs looking for the next unicorn. I read that none the normally VC specializing in medicine or pharmacy invested any money in Theranos. Apparently they were not enamored with the hype and like of any good data.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to get in on these scams

      You forgot...

      9. Take the money and run before you're found out.

      And it looks like they've missed that boat.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Theranos Breakthrough: Corrected Results From Even Smaller Blood Samples

    How do you supply corrected results after two years without a new blood sample?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Theranos Breakthrough: Corrected Results From Even Smaller Blood Samples

      "How do you supply corrected results after two years without a new blood sample?"

      New data: Sample donor is dead.

  10. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...a tech company that misleads people over what its technology can do."

    "... the name Theranos has itself become a byline for a tech company that misleads people over what its technology can do."

    This sort of fraud isn't just a 'company' thing. There are entire tech sectors where the over-hyped claims mislead many people over what the associated technology can actually do.

    Remember the BS claims of "autonomous" swarms of dancing drones a year or two ago? Every university was doing it. Not autonomous!! Needed banks of cameras mounted on the walls and Vision Systems running on PCs to determine positioning. "Autonomous" my ass. Fraudsters.

    Self Driving Cars will be the next Great Disappointment. Nobody knows how they'll navigate when the vision system is useless and GPS isn't precise enough. Somebody points to a supposed counter-example, but it's a useless stunt. Hundreds of GB of local data to drive a couple miles by laser scanning the area. Doesn't scale to a continent. Fraud.

    Don't get started on the "Someday soon everything will be manufactured by 3D Printing" nause.

    Has Lockheed Martin finished their 'Fusion Reactor on a Truck' yet?

    Are you scared of A.I.? Why? The rampaging mobs of killer A.I. will all grind to a halt when the memory leak causes them to lock up. Like the Andromeda Strain plot, deadly microbes from space that were allergic to rain. A.I. is allergic to the real world.

    Where's my damn flying car?

    Grumble grumble... Hey, get off my lawn. ;-)

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