As per a new research by the University of Guelph, a compound found in avocados may help treat leukaemia. The compound targets an enzyme VLCAD vital for the growth of cancer cells, explains Dr Paul Spagnuolo of the Department of Food Science.
The study, published in the journal Blood, focuses on acute myeloid leukaemia, which mostly occurs in people over 65. The drugs used for the treatment are toxic and end up killing patients. Since then, there has been a drive to find less toxic drugs.
Spagnuolo's team screened nutraceutical compounds among numerous compounds for a substance that might inhibit VLCAD. "Lo and behold, the best one was derived from avocado," said Spagnuolo.
"VLCAD can be a good marker to identify patients suitable for this type of therapy. It can also be a marker to measure the activity of the drug," said Spagnuolo. "That sets the stage for the eventual use of this molecule in human clinical trials."
Spagnuolo's lab had earlier looked at the potential of avocatin B for preventing diabetes and obesity. He now looks forward to seeing it used in leukaemia patients.