Edward Shanbrom, MD, died on Monday, February 20, 2012, in Tustin, California. He was 87 years old.
Shanbrom was born in West Haven, CT, in 1924. He served in the Navy from 1943-1946. He received a bachelor’s in biology from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, in 1947 and his medical degree from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine. Shanbrom then pursued a hematology fellowship at Yale University, influencing his career path as a hematologist and researcher.
In the late 1960s, while serving as vice president of medical and scientific affairs in the Hyland division of Baxter Laboratories, Shanbrom and Kenneth M. Brinkhous, MD, developed a highly concentrated form of factor VIII by pooling large quantities of plasma. This so-called “clotting factor” came in freeze-dried powder form, revolutionizing treatment for patients with hemophilia.
In the mid-1970s, Shanbrom set up shop at home, using common household items in his research. In 1980 he received a patent for a solvent-detergent treatment process to inactivate viruses in factor concentrates. Shanbrom then became a leader in the use of detergents to kill viral contaminants in blood, including HIV.
In 2007 the University of California, Irvine, renamed a research facility in honor of Shanbrom, a former professor there. In his acceptance speech Shanbrom said, “I have spent a lifetime researching blood’s therapeutic value and making it safe.”
Shanbrom is survived by his wife, Helen, three children and four grandchildren.