New research suggests that molecules derived from avocados could be effective in treating a form of cancer. Professor Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Waterloo in Canada has discovered a lipid in the fruit that combats acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) by targeting the root of the disease – leukaemia stem cells
“The stem cell is largely responsible for the disease developing and it’s the reason why so many patients with leukaemia relapse,” says 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.”
Spagnuolo’s research is published in oncology journal Cancer Research.
The drug is still years away from becoming approved for use in clinics, but Spagnuolo is preparing it for a Phase I clinical trial and he has filed a patent application for the use of the compound, named avocatin B.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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