Gene therapist receives Magnuson award
Dr. David Fink
Gene therapy pioneer and longtime VA researcher Dr. David Fink received the 2014 Paul B. Magnuson Award in a ceremony at the VA Ann Arbor
Healthcare System on Dec. 15, 2014. Fink, who has been with VA since 1982, is a staff neurologist and an
investigator with the Ann Arbor VA's GRECC whose work has led to discoveries that alleviate pain in Veterans. He
is also the Robert Brear Professor and Chair of Neurology at the University of Michigan.
Fink has pioneered methods to introduce genes into the body to treat chronic pain and other nervous-system
diseases. His team led the first human clinical trial of gene therapy for pain, on a group of cancer patients with
severe pain that had failed to respond even to high doses of morphine. The trial was successful, and a larger
trial of the approach is now being planned. Besides cancer pain, his work has also focused on reducing pain in
Veterans and others with nerve-related conditions such as spinal cord injury and diabetic neuropathy.
The Magnuson award honors the life and legacy of Dr. Paul B. Magnuson, who as a bone and joint surgeon
continuously sought new treatments and devices for assisting his patients as they faced unique situations
presented by their disability. The award is presented annually to a VA investigator who exemplifies the entrepreneurship, humanitarianism, and dedication to Veterans that Magnuson displayed.