Originally published June 19 2015
Avocados can naturally treat rare form of blood cancer, science shows
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) A new study indicates that avocados, which are often hailed for various health benefits including packing plenty of vitamins and being good for skin, could also play a role in helping fight a rare form of leukemia.
As reported by the UK's Independent, Professor Paul Spagnuolo of Canada's University of Waterloo has found a lipid – which is a group of naturally-occurring molecules – within the avocado fruit that fights against acute myeloid leukemia, or AML.
As further noted by the Independent:
AML is a rare form of blood cancer which is most common in people over the age of 65. According to Cancer Research, around 8,600 people are diagnosed with leukemia each year, 2,600 of which are diagnosed with AML. Around 90 per cent of people diagnosed with AML over the age of 65 die within the first five years.
Spagnuolo also has developed a drug that was derived from the lipid using a compound known as Avocatin B, which he found targets the leukemia stem cells that "drive the disease." In performing this function, the Avocatin B attacks the root cause of the cancer. His findings were published in a recent issue of the oncology journal Cancer Research.
Targeted treatment that is less toxic"The stem cell is really the cell that drives the disease," said Spagnuolo at 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."
The Avocatin B compound "eliminates" the source of AML, Spagnuolo said, and it is also less toxic to the body because of its targeted effects.
Spagnuolo and the university's school of pharmacy have formed a partnership with the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine in order to file a patent for Avocatin B and examine other partnerships that would see the drug taken to clinical trials, a process that usually takes years.
"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 Spagnuolo, as reported by the university, in a press release. "Not only does Avocatin B eliminate the source of AML, but its targeted, selective effects make it less toxic to the body, too."
Lots of health benefits associated with "alligator pears"Spagnuolo is one of just a few researchers around the world looking into treatments for disease via food-derived compounds, which are known as nutraceuticals.
As noted by the university:
There are multiple potential applications for Avocatin B beyond oncology, and the drug is just one of several promising compounds that Spagnuolo and his team have isolated from a library of nutraceuticals. Most labs would use food or plant extracts, but Spagnuolo prefers the precision of using nutraceuticals with defined structures.
"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," he continued. "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."
There are numerous health benefits from this wholesome, high-fiber fruit, which is known as an anti-aging superfood.
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