A pill to prevent migraine? Discovery of migraine gene could put it on the horizon

June 1, 2011

The discovery of a gene for migraine holds great promise in the quest for new approaches -- possibly even a pill -- for preventing the disease, says a panel of experts presenting data at the annual scientific meeting of the American Headache Society. So far, there is no therapy that prevents an attack.

Guy A. Rouleau, MD, whose Canadian and British research team was first to sequence the gene for migraine last fall, says for the first time since the of the triptans in the 1980s, seeking to develop new migraine therapies are excited about the possibility of preventive drugs for migraine. Triptans act by constricting blood vessels in the brain which in turn inhibit receptors which can block migraine in some patients. They are e not considered preventative therapies.

"We may be moving toward developing about a pill that would block the brain's pain channel that reacts to stimulation and causes pain in migraine," says Dr. Rouleau. 'Sequencing the gene not only allows us to understand the disease – it also opens understanding of the pain pathways that trigger migraine pain." Dr. Rouleau is director of the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center and Full Professor in the Department of Medicine of the Université de Montreal.

"For the first time in decades, I have seen great interest by the research community," he said, "including the private pharmaceutical industry in developing preventive migraine therapies."

Dr. Rouleau is part of a panel on "Migraine and Genetics" devoted to discussing the implications of sequencing the gene for migraine. The session will be at 9:45 am, Friday, June3. More than 500 migraine specialists in clinical practice and research from around the world attend the annual session which this year focuses on "New Discoveries in Headache Medicine," chaired by R. Allan Purdy, MD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"The discovery of a gene for migraine with aura last fall was important because it confirms the longstanding observation that migraine "runs" in some families," Dr. Purdy said. "The presence of genetic factors in a common form of holds promise for developing an effective treatment."

Explore further: Many migraine sufferers can predict their migraine attack

Related Stories

Many migraine sufferers can predict their migraine attack

June 1, 2011

As many as one-third of sufferers of migraine with aura experience forewarning symptoms even the day before an attack that might create an opportunity for intervention and prevention. Later during the actual migraine episode ...

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.