The story of how a little-known British company has changed the face of fish therapy.
Read moreRead lessWhen Dr. Martin R. Sperling founded Fisher Therapy in 1974, he believed that a single fish could heal many ills, but the company was only successful with a handful of species.
By the early 1990s, he had grown to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on fish medicine, and the company’s products are still used today by many in the U.S.
A few years later, he founded a new company, Fisher Therapeutics, to further develop his vision.
“In my mind, Fisher was always about the fish,” said Sperlinger, who is now a professor at Columbia University and is a former president of the American College of Fish and Wildlife.
“Fisher Therapy was not an ‘fish’ company, it was about fishes.”
Sperling was not alone in his belief that a fish was the answer to a host of ills.
As late as the 1960s, it wasn’t clear how much the oceans held the power to cure all ills — that is, if fish could cure the disease of ichthyosis.
Sperlinger’s idea was to use the fish itself, not an animal, to test whether a cure was possible.
But he didn’t want to use fish alone, and he never set out to prove his theory to the public.
He believed that by focusing on the fish, the disease could be tackled by the environment.
In his own field, he found that fish are very resilient to pollution, and even if they didn’t have fish in their bodies, their genes and DNA could still affect their health.
Spencer F. Smith, an expert on aquaculture, called Fisher Therapy’s focus on the animals’ genes “a really interesting approach” to solving ichthysitis.
In the 1990s and 2000s, Fisher became increasingly successful.
By 2005, Fisher had acquired dozens of new species of fish.
But the company had never released any results from a human clinical trial.
Sparks was frustrated by the lack of data from clinical trials.
He and his team began to develop their own.
In 2006, Sperler was invited to the United States for a conference on aqua-pharma.
The conference was a chance to gather his colleagues, and Sperlier got to work.
He recruited Fisher’s president, Stephen J. Tatum, and his colleague Michael A. Sinkland, both of whom had worked on Fisher’s clinical trials and who had now founded a company to sell Fisher’s products.
They were convinced that Sperlers scientific method was superior to the industry standard and that the new company would become the gold standard.
They called themselves the Fishers and introduced themselves as the company that could help solve ichthalia.
The two men founded FisherTherapy in 2004.
Their mission was to make the fish better, not worse, and FisherTherapeutics has been on the market ever since.
Sinkland is a professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at Columbia, and Smith is a consultant and research scientist at the New York City-based company.
Fisher Therapys is the world leader in fish therapy, and Tatum is the chairman of the company.
The two men have been the primary spokesmen for FisherTherapys.
“Fisher Therapeutic has always been about fish, and this is a fish,” Sinkling said.
“It’s the perfect fit for us.”
In 2005, Sinklings first published the results of a clinical trial of Fisher Therapy, a clinical study that included over 50 patients and found that the fish was able to improve the symptoms of ics and ichyosis.
It was the first time an animal had been shown to help people with ics.
Sigmar Fischer, the president of FisherTherapist, said that the trial’s results, which included patients who were all in their 20s, were impressive.
He said that he didn´t want to put out a product that didn´teach anyone how to live with ich, and so FisherTheraepys focused on finding ways to reduce ics symptoms and to treat ics in the short term.
But by the time Fisher Theraepy released its results in 2007, they were already starting to receive criticism from the scientific community.
They had not tested the fish on humans and had only used fish from the Pacific Ocean.
They also had been criticized for not giving a larger number of fish to test on.
“There was a lot of concern about the methodology, because we weren´t able to prove the fish worked, which was disappointing,” Smith said.
Says F. B. Johnson, an independent physician who has reviewed the results, “The fact that it was not a human study at all is problematic, because it suggests that there are other factors that could have been at work.”A decade