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Breakthroughs in migraine research for our post-COVID world

With the progress of Oxford’s clinical trials and the promising results produced by remdesivir in clinical studies across the globe, it now appears that we are closer than ever to producing a cure for COVID-19. While commentators have been vocal in their skepticism as to whether something to this degree will be ready within a year, what is evident from the rate of current research and its success is that - cure or not - the clinical research industry has stood its ground under time constraints and wider political pressures. And it is this feat that, in comparison with the handling of past outbreaks, has proven that research today has the potential to make the previously impossible possible.

So, if we can do all this, what else can we do? As part of our “new normal”, the way we view the industry, its strengths and weaknesses, has been fundamentally altered by the impact of the virus. Leveraging our new-found strengths in public awareness and reliance on technological solutions, a post-COVID industry may now be prepared to tackle one of the silent pandemics of our age: migraines.

Migraines remain, even today, the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world, with 1 in 4 households in America - or, in other words, 12% of the population overall - experiencing the neurological disease in at least one of its varying forms of intensity. Today, we look at what is going on in clinical research right now by example of two, short case studies; and consider where the market is presenting opportunities for research sites willing to adapt to the post-pandemic landscape.

Theranica Bioelectronics

Last month, the bio-medical technology company announced that their product, Nervivio, would be made more widely available via UpStart’s telemedicine platform. Nervivio is an electroceutical therapeutic that works to soothe migraines with electronic pulses administered from a device worn on the arm. Ultimately, Theranica’s expansion marks a milestone in the industry’s move towards biotechnological solutions that now are looking to seriously compete with traditional, medicinal treatments.

As in-person medical care is an increasing challenge for many, the partnership between the two companies will now save a vast amount of patients a trip to the pharmacy. A report published by the American Migraine Foundation backed up these claims by recommending telemedicine as an alternative to traditional methodologies, proving Theranica’s solution as especially beneficial under social-distancing regulations. What is evident here is that any research sites interested in this area of study should now seriously consider technological solutions. With a study published in Neurology finding people no longer view telemedicine as “inferior” to traditional evaluations, the fact that public opinion has changed must now prompt more inventive approaches to migraine research and treatment development.


However, this is not to say that further developments in traditional, preventative medications are no longer a possibility; as Novartis’ erenumab drug, Aimovig, has been proven this assumption wrong. As part of their TELESCOPE study, an average reduction of 8 migraine days was recorded in patients receiving their treatment; with 80% of patients noting a decrease in migraine intensity and 92% reporting a reduction of frequency in their attacks. Not only this, Novartis also announced interim results from the real-world PERISCOPE study, which included 91 patients who received erenumab with an overall mean disease duration of 18 years. Data showed that 85% of patients who received erenumab could cope better with daily activities and 83% lost fewer days to migraine since the start of their treatment.

What we can take from these findings is that traditional medication should not be written off as a thing of the past. The clinical studies reveal the positive impact of medicinal intervention that can be paired with a change in lifestyle in order to combat the disease. As around 30% of patients with chronic migraine also have clinical depression, medicinal migraine treatment research also offers research sites the possibility of treating wider systemic ailments in the process.

Here at Citruslabs, we've created the ideal patient recruitment dashboard to help any researcher improve their current metrics. With over 3 million patients on record, we ensure research sites are connected to a thoroughly educated and engaged pool of participants; so, it is no wonder why we have such high patient confidence! Now, we would say that other models are available - but this would be a lie. In fact, unlike that offered by other patient recruitment companies, our easy-to-use dashboard is the first-of-its-kind for the market; giving researchers a unique insight into their patients’ wants and needs via industry-leading technology. The future of clinical recruitment starts here.

  • Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us here, and check out our archives for all our top tips and tricks on running successful clinical trials in today's constantly changing industry.

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