Avocados may help beat blood cancer

Toronto, June 16 (IANS) Compounds derived from avocados could be effective in treating leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells, a research has found.

A molecule in avocados combats acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by targeting the root of the disease – leukemia stem cells, the results showed.

The results suggest that the new avocado-derived drug could significantly increase life expectancy and quality of life for AML patients.

“The stem cells are largely responsible for AML and it is the reason why so many patients with leukemia relapse,” said researcher Paul Spagnuolo, professor at University of Waterloo in Canada.

“We have 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, who discovered the compound, said.

The findings appeared in the oncology journal Cancer Research.

Through partnership with the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) in Canada, he has also filed a patent application for the use of the compound, named avocatin B, to treat AML.

“Not only does avocatin B eliminate the source of AML, but its targeted, selective effects make it less toxic to the body, too.”

“It is 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.”

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