Avocados may be key to beating leukemia

Avocados may be key to beating leukemia

Avocados are one of the most popular super foods in the world. They are perfect for any time of the day. Avocados are packed with healthy fats called monounsaturated fats, which lower blood cholesterol and may help regulate blood sugar. They are also great for heart health, skin health, and lowering blood pressure.

New research by Professor Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Waterloo shows that avocados may be key to beating leukemia.

According to Mayo Clinic: “Leukemia is cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system… Your white blood cells are potent infection fighters — they normally grow and divide in an orderly way, as your body needs them. But in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which don’t function properly.”

Professor Paul Spagnuolo discovered a lipid in avocados that fights acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by getting to the root of the disease — leukemia stem cells.

AML is an aggressive disease that is usually fatal within 5 years for 90 percent of people over 65. Spagnuolo’s discovery could one day provide longer life expectancy and better quality of life for AML patients.

The stem cell is really the cell that drives the disease,” said Professor Spagnuolo, in Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. “The stem cell is largely responsible for the disease developing and it’s the reason why so many patients with leukemia relapse. We’ve performed many rounds of testing to determine how this new drug works at a molecular level and confirmed that it targets stem cells selectively, leaving healthy cells unharmed.”

Spagnuolo has filed for a patent to use the compound, named avocatin B, to treat AML.

It’s an exciting time for our lab. With the help of CCRM we are now pursuing commercial partnership that would take avocatin B into clinical trials,” said Professor Spagnuolo. “Not only does avocatin B eliminate the source of AML, but its targeted, selective effects make it less toxic to the body, too.”

The study showing that avocados may be key to beating leukemia is published in the journal Cancer Research.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Avocados May Hold the Answer to Beating Leukemia.” Waterloo News. University of Waterloo, 15 June 2015. Web. 22 June 2015.
2. “Targeting Mitochondria with Avocatin B Induces Selective Leukemia Cell Death.” Cancer Research. American Association for Cancer Research, 15 June 2015. Web. 22 June 2015.
3. “Leukemia.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 22 June 2015.
4. “Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, n.d. Web. 22 June 2015.

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