There is no other fruit that makes it to the top of lists of beneficial nourishments quite like avocado. Now, the buttery, nutritious, antioxidant-rich avocado hold the key for treating acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The news comes from the School of Pharmacy – University of Waterloo, Canada where professor Paul Spagnolo identified one lipid in the avocado fruit that can effectively target and kill leukemia stem cells without harming the healthy blood cells surrounding these.
Acute myeloid leukemia or AML is a type of blood cancer. The stem cells in the blood are the main driver behind the aggressive spread of the disease. Once the stem cells grow into an abnormal shape indicating the advent of acute myeloid leukemia, they quickly push aside all healthy cells and attack the marrow in search of more space to develop.
The invasion of the marrow results in a quick death for the patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Senior in the age group above 80 are particularly predisposed to death within five years of the diagnose.
Conventional treatments for acute myeloid leukemia are deemed not too efficient albeit their overall relief of symptoms. But they fail to address the root cause that is the abnormal growth of blood stem cells. Added, they are also highly invasive at times.
This is where professor’s Paulo Spagnuolo team came in. The discovery of the lipid in avocado, known as Avocatin B could bring about a major change in the way acute myeloid leukemia is being treated.
In laboratory tests, after the lipid Avocatin B was singled out, it was introduced in infected blood and marrow samples. Avocatin B functioned unexpectedly well. The careful molecular analysis showed that Avocatin B was targeting specifically the stem cells, provoking no harm to the healthy cells.
According to professor Spagnuolo:
“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.”
The success of the Avocatin B in treating the acute myeloid leukemia cells is undoubtable under laboratory conditions. However, if it is to leave the lab and address real world patients, the drug would first need to undergo clinical trials.
In a partnership with the Center for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), professor Paulo Spagnuolo is looking to push for the beginning of clinical trials that would hopefully result in the approval of the drug on the market.
The beginning of clinical trials would bring good news for AML patients as Avocatin B is highly efficient both in targeting directly the source of AML and has considerable less toxic effects on the body.
Professor’s Paulo Spagnuolo research into the effects of Avocatin B on AML are available for consultation in the Cancer Research Journal.
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