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Avocado Fats Destroy Leukemia

Update Date: Jun 15, 2015 09:57 PM EDT

Avocados could hold the secret to beating leukemia, according to new research.

Researchers found that fats in avocados help fight against acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by destroying leukemia stem cells. The latest findings are important as over 90 percent of seniors diagnosed with the disease die within five years.

"The stem cell is really the cell that drives the disease," lead researcher Professor Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Waterloo said in a news release. "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."

"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."

"Extracts are less refined. The contents of an extract can vary from plant to plant and year to year, depending on lots of factors - on the soil, the location, the amount of sunlight, the rain," said Spagnuolo. "Evaluating a nutraceutical as a potential clinical drug requires in-depth evaluation at the molecular level. This approach provides a clearer understanding of how the nutraceutical works, and it means we can reproduce the effects more accurately and consistently. This is critical to safely translating our lab work into a reliable drug that could be used in oncology clinics."

The latest findings were published today in the journal Cancer Research.

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