A potential target for developing new treatment for acute migraine attacks has been identified by researchers.
The new research by Addex Pharmaceuticals showed that targeting glutamate receptor 'mGluR5', the most common neurotransmitter in the brain, could prevent migraines.
The research team suggest that mGluR5 could play a role in the "migraine circuit," a positive feedback loop that generates the symptoms of a migraine attack.
During the study, the researchers conducted trials with the help of potential drug candidate ADX10059, a negative mGluR5 allosteric modulator.
It showed efficacy in treating acute migraine attacks and provides evidence that inhibition of this glutamate receptor subtype could play a role in stopping migraine attacks before they start.
In the study involving 129 migraine patients, the researchers found that more patients taking ADX10059 than those taking placebo were pain-free two hours after dosing.
ADX10059 administration yielded better pain improvement at all time points up to two hours after treatment of a migraine attack.
"Medication is available to prevent migraine but these treatments are often secondary uses of the drug and come with potentially limiting side-effects," said Dr. Peter Goadsby of the UCSF Headache Center.
"New therapies specifically developed for migraine prevention are urgently needed especially for the substantial proportion of migraine sufferers who have frequent attacks and have significant disability in their daily lives.
"Targeting mGluR5 signaling with ADX10059 is an interesting approach that is showing significant promise in early clinical evaluation.
"The clinical trial data for ADX10059 proved the concept that by terminating acute attacks in some patients, mGluR5 inhibition plays a role in migraine pathophysiology.
The study was presented at annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.