University of Maryland and University of Saint Louis receive $ 5.3 million grant from NIH and DOD to study new ways to treat migraine

BALTIMORE – The University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) and the University of Saint Louis School of Medicine (SLU) recently received a combined $ 5.3 million from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study a new way to treat and prevent migraines by “turning off” specific pain receptors.

lr Marcela Romero-Reyes, DDS, PhD and Simon Akerman PhD

Migraine, a complex brain disorder that causes throbbing headaches along with a host of other symptoms including nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and mood swings, affects 30 million people in the States United, including children as young as 5 years old.

The team is proposing a new approach – which will target two distinct receptors, the sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1PR1) and the adenosine A3 receptor (A3AR) to deactivate pain signals involved in inflammation. The treatment will be especially helpful for about 50 percent of migraine patients who get little relief from existing medications.

Collaboration brings together Simon Akerman, PhD, assistant research professor and Marcela Romero-Reyes, DDS, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Neural and Pain Sciences, UMSOD; and Daniela Salvemini, PhD, academic chair SLU Department of pharmacology and physiology.

The grant will allow Akerman and Romero-Reyes to combine their basic science and clinical expertise in migraine and orofacial pain with Salvemini’s extensive experience in pain drug development to pursue a promising new approach for the relief and prevention of migraine pain.

The research is particularly promising because drugs targeting these receptors already exist, including one that is approved by the FDA to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). As part of this study, the team will be able to perform preclinical screening, accelerating the path to possible clinical trials reorienting these compounds against migraine pain.

“Our approach is exciting,” Akerman said, “because it could speed relief for millions of people affected by migraine. “

Romero-Reyes agreed, “The S1PR1 class of drugs that we are testing is already approved by the FDA for MS. This is a huge advantage because the development of the drug itself has already been done, but we are able to reuse these molecules to dissect a completely new mechanism and therapeutic approach in migraine. “

Calling his colleagues at UMSOD “global migraine experts,” said Salvemini, “our collaboration over the years has led to remarkable discoveries which can now be continued with the ultimate goal of translating our findings from the lab to the bedside. patient, with a positive impact on life. many individuals.

About the University of Maryland School of Dentistry

Founded in 1840, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, the world’s first dental university, offers exceptional educational programs in oral health. As one of six professional schools and an interdisciplinary graduate school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s 71-acre campus, it is part of a thriving academic health center that combines groundbreaking biomedical research and care. exceptional to patients. The school is Maryland’s leading provider of comprehensive and emergency oral health services. www.dental.umaryland.edu

About the Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Founded in 1836, the Faculty of Medicine at Saint Louis University has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school trains physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research and provides health care locally, nationally and internationally. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: infectious disease, liver disease, cancer, heart / lung disease, and aging and brain disorders.

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