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

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."

Provided by MBooth & Associates

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Many migraine sufferers can predict their migraine attack

Jun 01, 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 ...

Migraine increases risk of severe skin sensitivity and pain

Apr 21, 2008

People with migraine are more likely to experience exacerbated skin sensitivity or pain after non-painful daily activities such as rubbing one’s head, combing one’s hair and wearing necklaces or earrings, compared to ...

A primer on migraine headaches

Feb 16, 2010

Migraine headache affects many people and a number of different preventative strategies should be considered, states an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). The article, a primer for physicians, outlin ...

Recommended for you

How the world is underestimating Ebola: WHO

7 hours ago

The Ebola epidemic tearing through western Africa is by far the deadliest known outbreak of the disease, yet the magnitude of the spread is believed to be severely underestimated.

Last Ebola-free region of Liberia falls to virus

7 hours ago

Every region of Liberia has now been hit by Ebola, officials said Friday, as the World Health Organization warned the fight against the worst-ever outbreak of the killer disease would take months.

Ebola death toll rises to 1,427: WHO

18 hours ago

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak sweeping through west African countries has risen to 1,427 out of more than 2,600 cases, the World Health Organization said Friday.

User comments