Who We Are & What We Do

Keith I. Block, MD and Penny B Block, PhD founded the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment in 1980 with a mission of treating the whole person, not simply their disease. Encouraged by a group of patients who experienced success with the Block Center program, the Blocks established the Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education as a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation dedicated to advancing research on innovative and promising integrative cancer treatments to improve outcomes for cancer patients. A critical component of their commitment is providing education for both health professionals and the public on the implementation, availability and efficacy of integrative treatment.

Integrative Cancer Treatment: Rethinking the biomedical approach to cancer treatment

Integrative cancer treatment combines the best state-of-the-art conventional treatments with scientifically based therapies such as targeted molecular therapies, personalized nutrition and supplements, chronomodulated chemotherapy, advanced laboratory testing and diverse chemotherapies and immunotherapies.

Dr Keith Block has 40 years of experience in this growing international field. His expertise has caused professionals and colleagues in oncology to recognize him as “the guiding force in the world of integrative treatment” and “the most prominent integrative cancer specialist in the United States.” The individualized programs he has developed for the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment exemplify integrative care by aiming to enhance each patient’s quality of life, reducing toxic and debilitating side effects of traditional treatment while boosting treatment effectiveness and improving patient outcomes.

Our Research Activities

The Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education engages in non-profit academic research to advance the field of integrative cancer treatment. The Institute has funded important research projects with global impact. 

Two published systematic reviews of research studies on antioxidants given with chemotherapy drugs found that randomized trials showed no negative effects of antioxidant supplements on the efficacy of chemotherapy drugs. In a collaboration with a world-wide non-profit organization of 180 biological and medical researchers, Institute staff explored the concept of a broad-spectrum approach to cancer based on the abilities of plant-based compounds to suppress multiple cancer-promoting targets without causing excess toxicity. 

The resulting 13 scientific review papers were published in a special issue of a prominent international journal, Seminars in Cancer Biology, and have attracted the attention of hundreds of scientists globally. We have collaborated with researchers at the University of Illinois to publish review papers on the use and safety of herbal medicines for sleep. 

Our current research will examine whether a natural approach to increasing levels of the sleep hormone melatonin can improve circadian rhythms and quality of life in cancer patients.

Our Educational Activities

The Institute’s educational activities include providing education on integrative treatments to pharmacy and medical students at the University of Illinois as well as at other colleges and universities. We have provided guidance for pharmacy interns and dietetics interns at the Block Center. 

We give educational and scientific presentations at a variety of professional society meetings, and have acted as conference organizers as well as scientific reviewers for professional societies. Institute staff also give educational talks to community organizations and patient organizations interested in integrative treatment. 

Our Directors

Keith I. Block, MD is the Medical Director of the Block Center for Integrative Treatment in Skokie, Illinois.  He is the Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Integrative Cancer Therapies (SAGE Publications) and a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Board.  He holds adjunct professor positions in medicine and pharmacy at the University of Illinois.  He is the author of Life Over Cancer (Bantam Books, 2009).

Penny B. Block, PhD is the Executive Director and Director of Integrative Services of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment.  Her work has included research and publications on complementary care in oncology, including psychosocial issues and interventions that impact cancer and its treatment, nutrition, and effects of stress response strategies.  She provides patient counseling and education in addition to systematic training for medical professionals.

Contact Us

To learn more about us, please contact us by email at [email protected].

Contributions: Contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by U.S. law.

We encourage contributions to be sent by check to:
Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Education
5230 Old Orchard Road
Skokie, IL 60077

Phone: (847) 492-3040