Entrepreneurship

Mobile Treatment Tools Can Change Way People Recover from Trauma

Stevens students transform the digital therapeutics space, creating tools that reimagine PTSD recovery

Stevens students presenting at competition
Mira Therapeutics at the 2018 GIX Innovation Competition

(Hoboken, N.J. – Nov. 19, 2018) – As digital therapeutics takeoff as the next digital health revolution, business students at Stevens Institute of Technology are launching a company that hopes to reimagine recovery for 24.4 million Americans living with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. 

Their company, Mira Therapeutics, offers technology to help patients manage their symptoms, and give therapists powerful new treatment tools.

Their debut product is Mira, a mobile app that guides patients through crises like flashbacks, anxiety attacks and dissociation using clinically-established grounding techniques. Mira also records progress by automatically tracking symptoms and suggesting daily journal prompts. Each feature is fully interactive and available to patients in real time.

“There are thousands of mobile apps on the market that improve mental health,” said CJ Internicola, “we are creating technology that addresses problems unique to people living with PTSD. Mira is positioned to become a holistic improvement in the way people recover and grow from trauma.” CJ Internicola, a Junior studying Business & Technology, co-founded the company with his classmates, Seth Kirschner, Gregory Mercado, Nicholas Gattuso and Annika Roll at the end of his first year at Stevens.

While the current version of Mira supports patients outside of therapy sessions, it will soon include a series of virtual reality tools to help therapists treat PTSD in the office. These virtual reality tools are based on breakthrough treatments like eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, therapy and prolonged exposure. Therapists can also place patients in customized virtual reality settings to help them develop normal relationships with locations that would ordinarily trigger their symptoms. Before the advent of digital therapeutics, prolonged exposure was difficult to conduct in the confines of a therapist’s office.

“Digital therapeutics are revolutionizing the variety of treatment that patients can choose from. They are already impacting areas like drug adherence, behavioral health, and symptom tracking, and they are unmatched in their ability to reach global markets,” said Internicola.

Mira Therapeutics is not the only company creating innovative digital therapeutics. In September 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription digital therapeutic — a mobile app called reSET that helps patients recover from substance abuse disorder. reSET, developed by Pear Therapeutics, can now be prescribed by mental health clinicians and is covered by certain insurance providers. Pear Therapeutics is also developing tools for other conditions like opioid use disorder, insomnia and combat PTSD.

The Mira app seeks to address problems common among veterans, sexual assault survivors, police officers, medical providers, and many other people living with trauma. It is the only app of its kind that offers on-demand support, as well as personalized clinician tools. “We want to create technology that improves everyday life, translates into better therapy sessions, and ultimately, ameliorates suffering,” said Internicola.

Mira Therapeutics has recently won local competitions at Stevens Institute of Technology and Princeton University, and was a finalist in the international GIX Innovation Competition at Tsinghua University. They are currently testing the Mira app, and will be launching beta trials of their virtual reality technology with PTSD specialists in the coming months. To learn more, visit miraview.com.

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About Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, New Jersey overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Since our founding in 1870, technological innovation has always been the hallmark and legacy of Stevens’ education and research. Within the university’s three schools and one college, 6,900 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate closely with faculty in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment. Academic and research programs spanning business, computing, engineering, the arts and other fields actively advance the frontiers of science and leverage technology to confront our most pressing global challenges. The university is consistently ranked among the nation’s elite for return on tuition investment, career services and the mid-career salaries of alumni.

Stevens media contact: Keri Fitzpatrick, 201-216-5139, [email protected]