An esteemed Canadian investigator and ingenious experimentalist
In 1952, Dr. Noble received an envelope that had 25 periwinkle leaves enclosed. The envelope was sent to him by his brother, Dr. E. Clark Noble, a diabetes researcher at the time. From the leaves, Dr. Noble developed a concentrated extract and injected it into laboratory rats. The rats all died due to infection, which Noble would discover was caused by a significant reduction of white blood cells. Although the extract had little effect on blood sugar levels, it held promise for cancer treatment. Joined by Dr. Charles Beer, Dr. Noble led the team to make the ground breaking discovery of vinblastine. While not a cure, in combination with other drugs, vinblastine had a major impact on controlling the growth of a number of different types of cancers.
Dr. Noble and Dr. Charles Beer were jointly nominated and inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.