CPMCRI Scientific Director Michael Rowbotham, MD, will receive one of the highest accolades from the American Academy of Neurology

California Pacific CURRENTS: The online journal of CPMC Research Institute

April 13, 2016

Michael Rowbotham, MD, Senior Scientist and Scientific Director of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI), will be honored at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN)’s Annual Scientific Meeting on April 17 with the 2016 Mitchell B. Max Award for Neuropathic Pain, in recognition of his outstanding research and clinical achievements.

A leading international pain researcher, Dr. Rowbotham’s scientific work in the mechanisms and treatment of neuropathic pain has greatly influenced how chronic pain is managed: he published the first study of topical local anesthetics for neuropathic pain that eventually lead to FDA approval of the lidocaine patch (Lidoderm) for post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN); conducted the first fully blinded trials of opioids for neuropathic pain; and lead the early pivotal trial of gabapentin for PHN.

Persistent pain affects 100 million Americans—more than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.  Dr. Rowbotham is among a select group of researchers nationwide advancing what we know about the mechanisms and treatment of chronic pain. 

With findings published over the course of his 30-year career in high-impact journals including PAIN, The New England Journal of Medicine, Neurology and The Lancet Neurology, Dr. Rowbotham is well known for his clinical trials innovations and pioneering mechanisms-oriented clinical studies.

He has incorporated human experimental pain models into the testing of new analgesic drugs for chronic neuropathic pain and conducted clinical trials in disorders as diverse as pain following herpes zoster (shingles), pain resulting from chemotherapy for cancer, post-stroke pain, fibromyalgia, and the pain experienced by melanoma patients after surgery. He is at the forefront of understanding the transition from acute to chronic pain, and developing novel protocols for treatment.

Last year, Dr. Rowbotham conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of trials on drug treatments for neuropathic pain that yielded updated clinical guidelines. In collaboration with other leading international pain researchers, Dr. Rowbotham’s research (published in The Lancet Neurology) provided new recommendations for improving the treatment of complex, chronic pain disorders. The review provided practical evidence-based recommendations that can be incorporated into clinical practice for treating stubbornly refractory chronic pain and improving quality of life.

Dr. Rowbotham received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and completed fellowship training in psychopharmacology. Prior to residency training in neurology at Boston University and UCSF, Dr. Rowbotham was Medical Director for Substance Abuse Services at San Francisco General Hospital, caring for patients in the methadone clinics and conducting controlled clinical studies of potential treatments for cocaine and opioid abuse.

After completing a neurology residency at Boston University and UCSF followed by a two-year pain research fellowship at UCSF, Dr. Rowbotham became a Professor in Neurology and Anesthesia at UCSF. Soon after, he founded the UCSF Pain Clinical Research Center, one of the country’s first dedicated outpatient clinical research centers in neurology to study chronic pain.

In 2009, Dr. Rowbotham joined CPMCRI as Scientific Director (retaining the title of Adjunct Professor at UCSF).

The AAN—an international professional association of more than 30,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care—will present the award to Dr. Rowbotham on April 17 at their annual meeting in Vancouver, BC.