New hope in search for migraine cure
Migraine attacks are suffered by millions of people worldwide but despite significant progress in treatment in recent years an effective cure continues to elude scientists.
University of Auckland School of Biological Sciences Professor Deborah Hay is a leading pharmacology researcher in cellular proteins and next month she will deliver her inaugural lecture on new targets for migraine drugs.
People who suffer from migraine have been found to have elevated levels of a pain-causing hormone called CGRP, or calcitonin gene-related peptide. New drugs in clinical trials have been developed that stop CGRP in its tracks, offering new hope to migraine sufferers.
But Professor Hay has found that CGRP has two cellular receptor targets, not one as is commonly believed. She has also identified the molecular blueprint of how CGRP triggers its receptors to become activated.
This and other leading research from her team is contributing to world-wide efforts to develop safe and effective drugs that halt CGRP activity and provide much-needed relief for patients.
"Migraines are far worse than a bad headache, for many millions of people they are debilitating, affecting the entire physiology of a sufferer by not only causing severe head pain but also by altering vision and by causing nausea," Professor Hay says.