The Migraine Research Renaissance and Where it is Headed: A PI Interview

March 10, 2021
Grace Halsey

New and highly specific migraine drugs have significantly changed the clinical landscape for patients. We talked with Peter McAllister, MD, about where the research goes next.

Therapy for migraine is having a type of research renaissance that began in late 2019 with the rapid and sequential approval by the US FDA of 4 injectable agents for migraine prevention that focus on a very specific target: calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP).

CGRP is a neuropeptide found in the peripheral and central nervous systems known to play a role in pain modulation and is released during migraine. The monoclonal antibody-based medications work via antagonism of the CGRP molecule or the CGRP receptor.

Approval of the injectable CGRP inhibitors for prevention was followed quickly by FDA green lights for oral formulations of much smaller molecular size that are taken orally and indicated for acute treatment of migraine.

The essential feature that sets these drugs apart from all other migraine treatments, and particularly the preventive treatments, is their specificity for a single target.

Patient Care Online recently spoke with Peter McAllister, MD, a headache specialist and principal investigator on clinical trials of several of the new drugs about how far migraine treatment has come and what it will look like in the future - near and far.

Peter McAllister, MD, is medical director of the New England Institute for Neurology and Headache and chief medical officer of the Chief Medical Officer, New England Institute for Clinical Research, both located in Stamford, CT.