Migraine drug shows how big DNA studies can help find treatments

A recent breakthrough in migraine treatment shows, indirectly, how big DNA studies like DecodeME can help find highly effective drugs for patients.

Watch the easy to follow one minute video, or continue to read the article.

Traditional biological research some years ago identified a pair of proteins as being involved in triggering migraines. This insight recently led to clinical trials of new, high-tech monoclonal antibody drugs that target those proteins. The drugs were found to work remarkably well. They’re only given to patients who have migraines most days and for whom all other drugs have failed and yet 50% of people get a good response from them. It’s life-changing for some patients.

But here’s the thing. In a recent analysis of several big DNA studies, one of these target proteins showed up as being a cause of migraine.

In other words, if the only research on migraine ever done had been these DNA studies, researchers would still have a clue to the most successful migraine drug ever developed.

It’s a similar situation for many other diseases, where as well as providing new clues, big DNA studies pick out clues to drug treatments that have already been developed.

Now, think about the situation for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), where there has been very little research – and no effective treatments. There are no guarantees in science, but DecodeME and other big DNA studies have the same potential to be a shortcut to find important clues to treatments. Treatments that, as for migraine, could be life-changing.

More experimental research will be needed to follow up any clues, but they’d still be a huge step forward for ME/CFS.

Blog by Simon McGrath, part of the DecodeME team.