Australian neurology expatriate Professor Peter Goadsby is one of four scientists awarded the Brain Prize for their body of work in migraine and the development of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists.
The £1.1m Brain Prize is the world’s largest prize recognising original and influential advances in any area of brain research.
The Lundbeck Foundation in Denmark announced the prize would be awarded to Professor Goadsby (now UK and US), Michael Moskowitz (US), Lars Edvinsson (Sweden) and Jes Olesen (Denmark).
The work goes back some 40 years ago to when Professor Moskowitz from Harvard Medical School demonstrated that migraines result from a neuropeptide-driven interaction between the trigeminal nerve and the meninges. He suggested that blocking the action of the neuropeptides could provide a new type of treatment.
Within about a decade, Professor Goadsby, then at the University of NSW but now at King’s College London and the University of California Los Angeles, and Professor Edvinsson, from Lund University, showed the involvement of CGRP in migraine and cluster headache.
This led directly to the development of gepants and CGRP monoclonal antibodies and by 2004, Professor Olesen, from the University of Copenhagen, was lead author on the first evidence that a CGRP antagonist was effective in treating acute attacks of migraine.
Speaking at a press briefing in the UK, Professor Goadsby welcomed the recognition for migraine research.
“I think the important thing about this research is that it shows a neuroscience-based approach has value and that bench and bedside research married together has the ability to change clinical practice.”
“I’m humbled by the emails that we get from patients whose lives have been changed by these medicines. We haven’t changed them all, we’ve only just started, but what this research shows is that migraine is a tractable problem.”
The award ceremony will take place in Copenhagen in October, where the prize will be presented by Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.