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Compound in avocados could offer a treatment for leukemia

Avocados are highly nutritious and healthy fruits that can help fight disease. One of its unique compounds could offer better cancer treatment, according to researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada.

The study published in the journal Blood focused on acute myeloid leukemia, which is the most devastating form of leukemia. This type of leukemia begins in the bone marrow, often passing quickly into the blood. Sometimes it spreads to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, central nervous system, and testicles.

Avocatina B

Avocados have a compound that targets the VLCAD enzyme that is essential in the growth of cancer cells. It is avocatin B, it is a fat molecule that is only found in avocado fruits.

Avocatin B is a substance that could inhibit the VLCAD enzyme. Leukemic cells have higher amounts of an enzyme called VLCAD involved in their metabolism, said study co-author Dr. Paul Spagnuolo.

In an urge for develop less toxic drugs for cancer patients, the team of researchers examined numerous compounds that could inhibit the enzyme, the best one derived from avocado.

It is expected that in a few years the advance will allow obtaining drugs that increase the quality of life and survival of patients with leukemia.

Current leukemia treatments are difficult for older adults to tolerate

Acute myeloid leukemia is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults. It is a disease that affects the elderly, rare in people under 45 years of age, although children can also suffer from it.

The American Cancer Society indicates that the average age of people with this type of leukemia is 68 years. He points out that frequently, patients over 60 years of age have difficulty tolerating intensive treatment.

The University of Guelph shares that currently, approximately half of patients older than 65 years diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia enter palliative care. Others undergo chemotherapy, but drug treatments are toxic and can end up killing patients.

“VLCAD can be a good marker to identify suitable patients for this type of therapy. It can also be a marker to measure drug activity, ”Spagnuolo said. “That sets the stage for the eventual use of this molecule (avocatin B) in human clinical trials“.

Avocatin B has previously been tested for its potential use in the prevention of diabetes and the control of obesity. Spagnuolo points out that human studies, the use of avocatin B in appreciable amounts through supplementation has been well tolerated.

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