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."

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

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

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.