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-Morris—
I am a senior fellow in public health and journalism 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 work 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 King’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. 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.