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Steenblock Research Institute

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  • Steenblock Research Institute

    A mother recently wrote to me about the Steenblock Research Institute (SRI) because she was planning to pay money to get umbilical cord blood stem cell therapy for her 8-month old son with severe brain damage from a cerebral hemorrhage. I therefore looked up the Steenblock Research institute. Here is what I have found so far:

    The Steenblock Research Institute is in California, a spinoff from the Brain Cell Therapeutic Clinic in California where David Steenblock DO had long treated patients with concoctions of "growth factors and natural products that are known to promote and protect new brain cells". According to Quackwatch, Steenblock was charged by the government in 1994, fined $10,000, and placed on 5-year probation for negligent treatment of two patients. In 1995, they added 3 months to the probation and $3500 fine after an accident involving hyperbaric oxygen in his clinic. . Steenblock has used hyperbaric oxygen to treat brain injury for years (

    In the last three years, Steenblock has been advocating umbilical cord blood stem cells. The web site for the Steenblock Resesarch Institute described clinical benefits in seven children with "cerebral Palsy (Mixed Type)" and suggest that they have treated over 100 patients with"many instances involving Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Multiple Sclerorsis (All Types), ALS, stroke, various eye diseass including macular degeneration, and other disorders and conditions." The Institute does research "systematically and methodically accruing clinical tresponses of patient who have undergone umbilical cord stem cell therapy abroad" and the web site has the following disclaimer:
    Steenblock Research Institute and its clinical affiliate, Brain Therapeutics Medical Clinic ( emphatically do not offer stem cell therapy in any way, shape or form. SRI does license technology and is providing technical support to reputable clinics abroad that do offer umbilical cord stem cell therapy. SRI is also accruing and analyzing patient responses to umbilical cord stem cell therapy done overseas.
    Dr. Steenblock's biosketch and curriculum vitae can be found at and He published 3 peer-reviewed articles, all in the 1960's while in college and has several web articles on

    On July 12, 2004, Shantell M. Kirkendoll of Flint Journal wrote an article entitle Karly returns after treatment in Bahamas, describing a 5-year old with demyelinating disease who went to the Bahamas in 2004 to receive the stem cell therapy arranged by Steenblock. The family mortgaged their home to raise the $20,000 needed for the treatment and travel expenses. According to the article, the Steenblock stem cell technique has been used on 100 patients, including children with cerebral palsy and adults with MS over the two years. The procedure costed $14,000 and "booster" treatments are $6000-$8000. A followup report by Kirkendoll indicaed that "Karen Pollack is reticent to discuss what happened since her family her family went to the Bahamas for the treatment.

    A google search revealed a web site from a family trying to raise money for their twin with spastic cerebral palsy, so that they can get the Steenblock umbilical cord blood stem cell therapies in the Bahamas ( Umbilical cord blood transfusions are expensive. In the United States, insurance coverage for a single unit of matched umbilical cord blood is about $23,000, of which about $7000 goes to the National Bone Marrow Program if it matches the unit.

    On January 9, 2005, Laura Mecoy from Bee Los Angeles Bureau wrote a story about Stem Cells, Hope Lure Many Abroad where she described Dr. David Steenblock seeing patients before and after another doctor who injects and transfuses umbilical cord blood stem cells in Tijuana. She also describes Dr. William C. Rader (another quackwatch target) who has a Dominical Republic clinic that charges $30,000 for umbilical cord blood stem cell therapy.

    On February 10, 2005, Today's Stem Cell Research posted an article entitled Blind, Mute child with Cerebral Palsy Began Seeing and Speaking following Blood Cord Stem Cells offers a /forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img]opUp('',320,240,1);]5-minute video of the patient Adam Susser and his father. It is a news report which gives details of the treatment:
    • Dr. Fernado Ramirez in Mexico injected the umbilical cord blood cells. He apparently used a mixture of cells (hUCSC) that do not have ABO blood antigens, suggesting that blood cells have been removed. Dr. Ramirez is the Mexican doctor who has been doing shark embryo transplants into people with spinal cord injury.
    • Ramirez may not using HLA-antigen matched umbilical cord blood. The article and news story mentions blood antigens and not the HLA antigens suggests. If the cells were not HLA-matched, they are very likely to have been rejected. This may also be the reason why they were not seeing any complications such as graft-versus-host disease.
    • The statement suggests that Dr. Ramirez is using cultured or at least separated umblical cord blood cells ("hUCSC mix") that excludes red blood cells. That may be the reason why it is not being done in the United States because cultured or manipulated umbilical cord blood cells would require FDA approval. The video showed the injection being done (unless it was faked) and it suggests that the child received an intramuscular injection of about 5 ml of a clear fluid.

    Antony G. Payne, Ph.D., a partner of Dr. Steenblock published a website to counter the charges of Quackwatch's article entitled "The Shady Side of Quackwatch"
    The Brain THERAPEUTICS Medical Clinic has NO involvement whatsoever in offering or participating in embryonic stem cell therapy. Steenblock Research Institute (SRI), a California nonprofit research institute located in San Clemente (CA.) does gather data garnered from the systematic use of umbilical cord progenitor (stem) cells by a group of foreign-based physicians who treat various neurological diseases and conditions. In an ongoing pilot study in which eight (8) children received an infusion of pure (CD34+/CD133) umbilical cord stem cells, tentative results indicate that 6 (six) have experienced clinically and statistically significant improvements in various motor skill and cognitive functions. A formal scientific paper has been prepared and submitted to the peer-reviewed journal, "Medical Hypotheses" (Elsevier Science UK). says the following about the Steenblock Research Institute:
    SRI claims that doctors in Mexico have given "pure" cord blood stem cells to treat seven children with cerebal palsy with no prior immunosuppression. (Editorial note: scientists have no marker for stem cells, so it is impossible to separate "pure" stem cells). They report that one child was cured of blindness (Nov2004). By contrast, in medical academia, the most advanced study at Harvard which used stem cells to restore vision was performed in MICE (reported 18Nov2004).

    Criticism of SRI: The consumer organization QuackWatch lists Steenblock under Questionable "Research" Entities (see their 9 guidelines) and provides links to regulatory actions [ 1 , 2 ] against Steenblock.
    In view of the fact that the Steenblock Research Institute appears to be collecting funds for umbilical cord blood treatments being delivered in the Bahamas and Mexico, the disclaimers on the SRI site and by Dr. Payne are misleading. It may be true that the Brain Therapeutic Medical Clinic has no involvement whatsoever in offering or participating in embryonic stem cell research. On the other hand, the Steenblock Research Institute appears to be charging for umbilical cord blood stem cell therapies overseas for as many as 100 patients with a variety of neurological diseases over the past three years. It is not clear what cells are being given to the patients or there is little evidence to support the their claims of efficacy.

  • #2
    Dr Young, has anything over the past 3 years since you published your findings on the Steenblock Research Institute? Has any further research on their methodology surfaced to support their claims?


    • #3
      Steenblock Research Institute - Stem Cell Treatments

      Dr David Steenblock actively performs stem cell treatments in his clinic in S California with much success. Using the patient's own bone marrow stem cells which are re injected into the patient. He is teaching other Doctors how to do this at his clinic. Dr Steenblock recently put on his blog this message:

      This was posted on the website but the message can be put on all social networks. Patients can bring their own doctor and have a treatment by me and the doctor can learn how to do the stem cells so they can take care of them again at some future time! Spread it around! ds


      Hi, I am trying to inform the membership that I am willing to train a doctor to do bone marrow or fat derived stem cell therapy if they bring me one of their own patients that will pay our normal price. The doctor will be given hands on instructions in regard to the technique being used so it will not cost the physician anything to learn how to do these techniques. The more patients the doctor brings the better training the doctor will receive and the more practice they will get so they will be more comfortable to do the procedures in their offices ASAP. Thank you, David Steenblock, DO 949-367-8870

      His new breakthrough stem cell supplement is producing more results by the day. see
      Last edited by Kenu; 02-25-2011, 02:29 AM. Reason: typo


      • #4
        Just goes to show - whom do you believe?
        2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member
        Please join me and donate a dollar a day at and copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.


        • #5
          Weird...I had never heard of this guy until last night researching my posts on, which I posted here. /forum/showthread.php?t=142877&page=5

          Here is an article I found on Steenblock:

          Eric Harness, CSCS
          Neuro Ex, Inc
          Adaptive Performance and Neuro Recovery