Once shunned for being too high in fat, avocados have won over many people, including dieticians, in recent years.
They’re high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats that promote good cardiac function. But now researchers think they may have found another potential use for avocados – fighting a specific type of leukemia.
Canadian researchers say they’re close to patenting a compound found in avocados for fighting cancer in clinical settings.
And since avocados provide a number of important vitamins and minerals including potassium, there’s no need to skimp on the guacamole!
Published in the journal Cancer Research, a study from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada looks at the effects of avocado on acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a form of bone cancer.
This form of cancer is particularly common – and deadly – among elderly populations(1), and the results can be deadly; the five-year survival rate for acute myeloid leukemia is only 25%.
AML develops in the bone marrow and can quickly spread to the blood, making it a very dangerous form of cancer.
The study found that a compound known as avocatin B, which is found in avocados, may not only kill acute myeloid leukemia cells, but also leave healthy cells intact(2).
This is important, because it can help minimize the side effects of many traditional cancer treatment methods, which kill healthy cells as well as cancerous ones.
The study calls the use of avocatin B for treating acute myeloid leukemia “a novel strategy”.
Clinical Trials Are The Next Step
Through partnership with the Centre For Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), study leader Paul Spagnuolo has filed a patent application for use of avocatin B in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.
“With the help of CCRM we are now pursuing commercial partnership that would take avocatin B into clinical trials,” Spagnuolo said in a press release(3).
A clinical trial would allow patients with acute myeloid leukemia to have access to avocatin B in drug form for the treatment of their disease.
The Possibilities Of Nutraceuticals
Spagnuolo is one of a dedicated handful of researchers who have begun applying rigorous scientific research to food-derived compounds, also known as nutraceuticals. Nutraceuticals are compounds with medicinal properties that can be found in our everyday food.
“Evaluating a nutraceutical as a potential clinical drug requires in-dept evaluation at a molecular level,” Spagnuolo says.
“(Our) 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.”
Spagnuolo’s research is funded by the University of Waterloo and the Leukemia and Lymphoma society of Canada.