Date: 07 February 2019
Professor Peter Goadsby, who is Professor of Neurology at King’s College London, in south London, recently spoke about his work in developing a new migraine treatment on national television.
The interview on the BBC’s One Show was focused around his role in leading a trial from King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on transcranial magnetic stimulation, an innovative new therapy for migraines using powerful magnets.
The treatment involves a magnetic pulse being emitted that blocks the abnormal brain activity that occurs during a migraine. He said:
“The stimulation itself goes across the skull and uses a magnetic pulse to generate energy in a deep part of the brain called the thalamus.
“What we are trying to do is to change the way the brain behaves so that the migraine brain doesn’t respond as easily to stimuli, and the patients then improve.”
Chronic migraines affect an estimated 610,000 people across the UK. According to NHS Choices, around one in every five women and one in every 15 men get migraines.
Professor Goadsby, who is also NIHR CRN National Speciality Group Lead for Neurological Disorders, believes migraines can be a “disabling problem” for anyone. He continued:
“A migraine can stop anybody: it can stop a mother from being a mother; it can stop a pilot from flying; it would stop a solider; it would stop someone from going out into space; and these are all people I’ve seen!”
Last year the European Commission licensed erenumab, the first new migraine drug in 20 years; Professor Goadsby was also instrumental in its development.
The drug works by blocking a key protein responsible for migraine activation, and it is available on private prescription to patients in the UK who have a migraine on at least four days per month. A decision is expected on the clinical and cost effectiveness for prescription on the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) later this year.
There are treatments which can help ease migraine symptoms, but erenumab is the first drug specifically designed to prevent a headache from occurring, and you can read more about erenumab here. Professor Goadsby said:
"Erenumab heralds a new era in clinical practice, bringing both a targeted mechanism for prevention and a deep understanding of migraine which we have never had before. We will see sustained relief from migraine for many of those who suffer with this debilitating disease."
The migraine feature begins from 12 minutes on the One Show and is available to watch in full on BBC iPlayer here.
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