Canada Through the Decades

1950's

Medical Breakthrough

In the 1950's Dr. Clark received some leaves from a patien. He was told that if he boiled the leaves into tea, they could help cure diabetes. The leaves were from the Madagascar Periwinkle plant. Clark sent the leaves to his brother, Dr. Robert Noble. He found that the leaves did not help diabetes patients, but they did lower white blood cells in a person's body. By 1958, Dr. Noble made a powerful extract from the periwinkle leaves. They named it 'Vinblastine'. When combined with other drugs it was very effective for curing certain types of cancer.