Professor Peter Goadsby awarded world’s top Brain Prize 2021

Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology at King's College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), and Director at the National Institute for Health Research-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (NIHR CRF), King's College Hospital has been awarded the world’s top Brain Prize from the Lundbeck Foundation for his pioneering migraine research.

Migraines are one of the most common and disabling neurological conditions affecting humans causing severe, recurring head pain, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. More than four million people suffer at least 15 migraine attacks per month.

Pioneers in migraine research

Professor Goadsby, alongside Professor Lars Edvinsson (Sweden), Professor Michael Moskowitz (USA), and Professor Jes Olesen (Denmark), have been recognised with the world’s most prestigious award for brain research for their discovery of a biological mechanism that triggers a migraine attack 40 years ago. This has since led to powerful new treatments which patients have remarked have “given them their life back”.

Their work enabled clinically effective classification of the different types of migraine disorder and led to the development of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) as a preventative treatment. The development of these drugs opened a new era in migraine research and therapy. Although they do not cure migraine, they markedly improve the quality of life of many migraineurs.

Professor Peter Goadsby is an internationally renowned neurologist in the field of headache and migraine who joined the department of Basic & Clinical Neuroscience at IoPPN in 2013. He directs the National Institute for Health Research-Wellcome Trust King’s Clinical Research Facility (NIHR CRF), is Pain Research theme lead at the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and acts as an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at King’s College Hospital and Great Ormond Street. He told us:

“It is an enormous privilege to receive the Brain Prize; really a prize for all the people who have suffered for so long with headache disorders, and for all the excellent scientists who have made an important contribution to this field.  It is an overdue recognition of the ‘Cinderella’ problem of migraine. Cinderella has arrived at the ball as a welcome guest - and got the glass slipper! 

I feel privileged to work in medicine with patients’ headache disorders, and their families, to make some small differences and help the incredibly brave patients I see do just a little better.”

The Brain Prize

The Brain Prize is the world’s largest prize for brain research and is awarded each year by the Lundbeck Foundation, one of the largest commercial foundations in Denmark. The award is worth £1.1 million and is given to neuroscientists who have had a ground-breaking impact in the field.

Read more about the brain prize in the information pack. 

Professor Richard Trembath, Senior Vice-President and Provost (Health), King's College London and Executive Director, King's Health Partners said:

“Our congratulations to Peter on this outstanding achievement.  Peter’s work on migraine shows the huge potential of experimental medicine in neuroscience – where discoveries from the laboratory are translated for patient benefit. These benefits for patients are achieved through our infrastructure at King’s, including the NIHR CRF Peter directs and the NIHR Maudsley BRC where he leads the Pain theme.”

Professor Richard Morris, chair of the prize’s selection committee, explains the reasoning behind the award:

“Migraine is one of the most common and disabling neurological conditions affecting humans. The work of the four recipients contributed to the clinically effective classification of the various types of this disorder, and then to unravelling the key mechanisms that cause it. This understanding led to the development of a novel therapy and has opened windows into future ones. Their work on migraine is a remarkable example of bedside-to-bench-to-bedside research that has yielded tangible clinical benefit.”

The Brain Prize is awarded at a ceremony in Copenhagen, Denmark presided over by His Royal Highness, The Crown Prince of Denmark. This year it will take place on 25 October.

Watch a film made by the Lundbeck Foundation which interviews Professors Lars Edvinsson, Peter Goadsby, Michael Moskowitz and Jes Olesen, winners of The Brain Prize 2021, worth 10 million Danish kroner, for their groundbreaking work on the causes and treatment of migraine.


Tags: Staff News - Pain - Clinical disorders and health behaviours - NIHR Wellcome King's Clinical Research Facility - Pain and Addictions -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 4 Mar 2021, 15:15 PM

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