Avocados have been loved by many when used to prepare salads; they are also delicious when had in form of guacamole, and since a long time nutritionists have been describing them as one of the healthiest forms of fat. Now, scientists have identified another great quality of this single seeded fruit; they believe avocado might help us in fighting cancer.
According to findings of a new study, the creamy fruit has properties that can be helpful in combating acute myeloid leukemia or AML, an extremely rare, but deadly variety of leukemia.
According to the scientists, fat molecules present in avocados tackle leukemia stem cells. These stem cells grow to form abnormal blood cells and play a key role in causing AML. Right now, there are few medications capable of tacking leukemia stem cells.
Based on the findings of this study, the researchers are hoping to formulate an avocado-derived medication that according to them might increase life expectancy of people suffering from AML as well as improve their quality of life. For those who don’t know: AML is a lethal health condition and taken the patient’s life within five years in 90% of the cases where the patient is above 65 years of age.
Stem cells present in the bone marrow of a healthy individual divide and grow into matured red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. In patients suffering from AML, the above mentioned process gets disrupted.
Instead of forming healthy RBCs, the stem cells in AML patients end up forming several abnormal leukemia cells. The leukemia cells are immature cells and are not capable of developing into normal blood cells. During the above mentioned study, researchers found that avocatin B, the fat molecule present in avocados, possesses the ability to stop this process by targeting the leukemia stem cells; this in turn enables growth of healthy blood cells.
Prof. Paul Spagnuolo of the University of Waterloo said that the stem cell is the cell type that is primarily responsible for causing AML and the deterioration thereafter. He added that he and his colleagues have carried out several rounds of testing for finding avocatin B’s efficacy at molecular level; according to him, the results of those tests have confirmed that avocatin B is capable of targeting abnormal stem cells without harming any healthy cell.