By David Tuller, DrPH
Last week I wrote about the recently announced licensing deal between Mahana Therapeutics and King’s College London. The deal involves a web-based course of cognitive behavior therapy designed to treat irritable bowel syndrome. In a major study, the reported improvements in symptoms among participants in the web-based program were modest at best. Yet Mahana is promoting these improvements as “dramatic” and “potentially game-changing for patients.”
On Monday, I e-mailed Mahana Therapeutics with a few questions. I have not heard back, although I followed up my initial e-mail with two nudges. On Friday, I sent the following e-mail to Professor Rona Moss-Morris, the study’s co-investigator. (Professor Moss-Morris has stock options in the company and has received payment as a consultant.).
Dear Professor Moss-Morrisâ€”
I am a senior fellow in public health and journalismÂ at UC Berkeley’s Center for Global Public Health, which is part of the School of Public Health. I have written about research on ME/CFS and other illnesses in the category of so-called “medically unexplained symptoms” for a few years. Much of this workÂ appears on Virology Blog, a science site hosted by Vincent Racaniello, Higgins Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University. (I have cc’d Professor Racaniello; you can read about him here.)
In the last week, I have posted three pieces related to the ACTIB study. The first was a comment on the study itself and on the robustness of the findings. The next two involved the licensing deal between Kingâ€™s College London and Mahana Therapeutics for the Regul8 program. In case you haven’t seen these blogs, here are the links:
I am writing to invite you to respond to the questions I have raised about the study, Mahana’s description of the findings, the potential for conflicts of issues, etc.Â I would be pleased to post your full comments on Virology Blog–unedited and at whatever length you would like. (If I respond to your response, I will do so in a separate post.)
Please consider this a standing invitation.