London and Oxford, UK, 14 November 2013: MRC Technology, a technology transfer organisation, announced today it is collaborating with Dr Zameel Cader at Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, to screen selective and potent potassium channel activators to develop novel therapeutic interventions in migraine. Drawing on MRC Technology’s commercialisation expertise in drug discovery, the project focusses on bringing to clinic more effective pain treatments arising from the work of Dr Cader’s group in identifying KCNK18, the first gene underlying typical migraine.
KCNK18 encodes a tandem-pore background potassium channel, TRESK, which is linked to causing migraines and controls the sensitivity of pain nerves in the brain. If TRESK is faulty or inactive, the body’s threshold to pain can be significantly lowered. Migraine is the most common neurological disorder, with prevalence estimated at 18.2% in females and 6.5% in males, and is characterised by a severe, recurring headache, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
Dr Justin Bryans at MRC Technology, said: “We are delighted to be working with Dr Cader and his team who have made such a significant discovery in the underlying causes of migraine. We are hopeful that our collaboration will lead to treatments that could not only prevent migraines, but could potentially result in a more general pain therapy with even wider impact."
“Migraine is a major cause of disability worldwide and it has been estimated to be the most costly neurological disorder in Europe,” commented Dr Cader. “We have made a major step forward in our understanding of why people suffer with migraine and with MRC Technology’s wealth of drug discovery experience, we look forward to working with them to bring novel treatments to market.” For more information please visit www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X13017713
About MRC Technology
MRC Technology (www.mrctechnology.org) is an independent life science technology transfer charity, offering professional services to organisations within the academic, charity, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors globally. Services include IP management and research and development for diagnostics, small molecules and therapeutic antibodies. MRC Technology bridges the gap between basic medical research and commercialisation, helping early discoveries progress to clinical application.
About Dr Zameel Cader
Dr Zameel Cader is an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, appointed in 2007. He is the Director of the Oxford Headache Centre and is a member of the British Association for the Study of Headaches (BASH) and the Anglo-Dutch Migraine Association (ADMA). Dr Cader is a Senior Clinical Scientist at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience and has recently become a Principal Investigator at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. His research programme is focused on understanding the disease process in migraine using cell biology, model organism and human imaging studies and has led to the first identified gene linked to a common form of migraine. He is also the Academic Director for the 52 million euro flagship public-private partnership IMI StemBANCC, aiming to develop stem cells from patients as a new platform for drug discovery in neuropathic pain and migraine. This consortium includes 10 of the major global pharmaceutical companies and will enable rapid translation of research findings from bench to bedside.