Professor of Dermatology Jack L. Arbiser was out walking near
his home when he happened upon a common magnolia seed cone,
picked it up, and decided on the spot it should be examined
from a pharmacological point of view.
sudden interest isnt as arbitrary as it might seem. He
has long believed that many native plants may contain useful
substances as yet undiscovered.
been interested in discovering small molecules that are inhibitors
of [potentially harmful] new blood vessel formation, he
says. Ive always thought plant products have not been
adequately screened for that. In 1998, for instance, we found
that the yellow pigment in curry inhibits the formation of blood
vessels, and we just received a patent for that. People go to
the Amazon looking for unusual plants, but my feeling is that
the plants right here have not been thoroughly tested either.
literally took the cone home, boiled it, filtered the substance,
and tested the extract. As it turned out, his hunch was right:
We found that the extract itself inhibited the growth
of endothelial cells, he says. When tested in mice, the
compound slowed tumor growth by half. The results of a study
headed by Arbiser were published in the September Journal of
hopes the magnolia substance will eventually be used in drugs
to treat cancer as well as inflammatory disorders such as psoriasis
and arthritis. Other uses could include protecting against coronary
testing a number of other plants right now, Arbiser says.
So far, the magnolia is the most successful, which is
interesting because its been sitting right under our noses
for many years.P.P.P