Shanbrom, M.D., Edward, Shanbrom, M.D., Edward, renowned hematologist, researcher, inventor, educator and philanthropist, died of natural causes on February 20, 2012 at his home in Tustin, CA. His wife of 65 years, Helen, and other family members were by his side, holding his hand as he passed from this world. He was 87.
Dr. Shanbrom was born in West Haven, CN, in 1924, and served in the Navy from 1943 until 1946. He received his B.S. in biology from Allegheny College and his M.D. from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine (now SUNY-Buffalo). After an internship at University Hospital in Buffalo, Dr. Shanbrom, recognizing that the tropics harbored the largest proportion of the world's diseases, took a residency at Gorgas Hospital in the then Panama Canal Zone. There he forged lifelong friendships, as he did everywhere.
Following a Yale fellowship in hematology, he sought a new life for himself and his family in the warm California sun in 1956. He began his first career as a physician, specializing in hematology and oncology, at the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, CA, followed by Orange County General Hospital (now University of California, Irvine, Medical Center), and St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA. He was a clinical instructor at both UCLA and UC Irvine medical schools.
Frustrated with the limited therapies available to physicians at the time, he shifted careers and became Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs at the Hyland division of Baxter Laboratories in the late-1960s. At Hyland, Dr. Shanbrom and his colleagues devised a method, still in use today, to produce large quantities of Factor VIII, the clotting factor that is absent in hemophiliacs. This breakthrough therapy made it possible for those suffering from hemophilia to lead more normal lives.
Dissatisfied with the challenges of corporate life and disappointed in a corporate shift away from research, Dr. Shanbrom left Hyland in the mid-1970s, began his third and most successful career conducting research at his home. He developed the blood purification process that uses mild detergents to sweep away viruses from blood plasma. He is considered one of the leaders in the use of solvent-detergents and other natural products to destroy viruses (including HIV), bacteria, and other contaminants in blood. In 1988 a new chapter in this final career opened in his life when the New York Blood Center bought his patented processes for inactivation of viruses in transfusion blood.
Dr. Shanbrom was the inventor of 49 US patents and 91 International patents in areas ranging from nutraceuticals to antiseptics to blood products.
Dr. Shanbrom, along with his wife Helen, was also a compassionate philanthropist, giving generously through The Shanbrom Family Foundation as well as the Edward and Helen Shanbrom Family Fund of the Orange County Community Foundation. Dedicated advocates for human services, education and the arts, they supported local organizations serving in these areas for many years.
Ever grateful for his liberal arts education at Allegheny College, Dr. Shanbrom was a major supporter of the arts and cultural sector in Orange County. He helped bring numerous world-class orchestras and artists, as well as arts education, to the local community through gifts to the Pacific Symphony, Pacific Chorale, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Opera Pacific and South Coast Repertory, among others.
Dr. Shanbrom received awards from the American Board of Internal Medicine, National Board of Medical Examiners, National Hemophilia Foundation, University of Buffalo, and an honorary doctorate from Allegheny College. He was a member of many professional organizations, including the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Hematology.
In 2007 the Edward Shanbrom, M.D. Hall was dedicated on the UC Irvine campus in recognition of Dr. Shanbrom's pioneering hematology research and great support of the university. The building is also home to the Edward Shanbrom, M.D. Laboratory for the Study of Blood and Natural Products.
Additionally, he was the recipient of multiple honors for his philanthropy, including the Orange County Arts Award, the UCI Medal, and the Orange County Community Foundation's Excellence in Philanthropy Award.
Ed will be greatly missed by his many friends and devoted family. In addition to his wife, Helen, he is survived by daughter, Susan Krabbe (Morris), sons, Bob (Xiaoping) and Bill (Jill), and grandchildren Corey, Evan, Maylene and Daniel Shanbrom. He was preceded in death by the tragic loss of his youngest son, David, in 1986.
Ed will be remembered as a man who loved to travel the world and was endlessly curious about the world, as one who followed his passions and acted on his compassion, as a man of great energy who understood the value of thinking, as a deep intellect who generously shared his knowledge and opened his mind to learning from those around him.
A celebration and remembrance of his life will be held at UCI's Barclay Theater on March 17th at 12:30. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Orange County Community Foundation.
Published in Orange County Register on Mar. 5, 2012.