Lerner Research Institute News

Read about the latest advances from Lerner Research Institute scientists, including new findings, grant awards, innovations and collaborations.

Precision Medicine in Migraine Treatment

With their Co-Laboratories Award, Drs. Mata and Ahmed will team up to develop a way to predict patient response to FDA-approved treatments for migraine prevention.


Migraine is a highly heritable brain disorder that remains a leading cause of disability, underscoring the need for effective preventive therapies. Currently, three FDA-approved treatments for migraine prevention exist, which use monoclonal antibodies (MABs) to target a migraine-triggering molecule, called CGRP. However, because CGRP MABs treatments are costly and may not work for every person, patients can only obtain insurance coverage after they try less expensive, and typically less effective, medications.

Ignacio Mata, PhD, Genomic Medicine Institute, and Zubair Ahmed, MD, Center for Neurological Restoration, have teamed up to develop a way to predict who may respond favorably to CGRP MABs. Using data from more than 2,000 migraine patients previously or currently treated with CGRP MABs, they will build a clinical model to identify which combination of demographic and clinical factors most accurately predicts response to the treatments. They will then assess in 340 migraine patients if quantitative scores reflecting overall genetic risk for migraine, called polygenic risk scores, can improve the prediction of treatment outcomes, both independently and in combination with the clinical prediction model.

Harnessing their findings, they will develop the first risk calculator to determine CGRP MABs response in migraine, setting the foundation for precision medicine in migraine treatment and establishing a template with which other therapies can be similarly evaluated. Ultimately, their study will provide a more immediate path towards effective clinical treatment for migraine patients, greatly increasing their quality of life and reducing healthcare expenditure.

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