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QUT-India collaboration on new vitamin therapy brings relief to migraine sufferers

15th June 2015

Collaboration between QUT and Indian life science company Avesthagen is paving the way for migraine genetics research to be translated into a new vitamin B-based preventative therapy.

The collaboration will enable the translation of research by the Genomics Research Centre, led by Professor Lyn Griffiths at QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), into a DNA-based diagnostic and therapeutic that could vastly improve the life of people with migraine.

The migraine diagnostic and targeted vitamin therapy will be launched in India, the Middle East and North Africa.

Professor Griffiths said the new therapy would target the MTHFR gene which is involved in susceptibility to migraine with aura, one of the most common forms of the debilitating condition, which manifests with neurological disturbances such as vision and speech loss in the early stages of a migraine attack.

"We identified the gene involved in migraine with aura, a type of migraine that affects about 30 per cent of migraine sufferers," Professor Griffiths said.

"And we found in two clinical trials that a specific combination of B vitamins could reducethe frequency and severity of migraine in these individuals.

"Migraine is a common debilitating disorder that can significantly disrupt all parts of a person's life and put a burden on the economy through absences from work, which actually costs more than the direct medical treatment."

The Genomics Research Centre has been involved in migraine genetics research for almost 20 years and has identified a number of genes involved in migraine development.

Professor Griffiths said the collaboration with Avesthagen would keep IHBI at the forefront of a developing research area in personalised medicine.

"Personalised medicine is about using genetics to understand each person's makeup, including their disease susceptibility, and finding the best treatment for that person," she said.

"At IHBI, we are gaining a great understanding of genetic makeup and disease susceptibility because of expertise in genome analysis.

"We need Avesthagen's input to turn that into a therapy that people around the world can trust and afford."

Avesthagen executive chairman Dr Villoo Patell said the diagnosis of a particular gene marker linked to a therapy was unique.

"We are excited by this opportunity to work with Australia, QUT and Professor Griffiths to bring the technology to the Indian diaspora and provide a diagnosis and treatment for the neglected migraine condition," she said.

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT media, 07 3183 2999, n.widdowson@qut.edu.au

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