Avocados have cancer-busting properties
Avocados have been recommended as part of a healthy diet for a while now because they are classed as a healthy fat. But the green fruit could now potentially claim the title of super food, after scientists discovered they could help fight cancer. A new study by the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), in Toronto, Canada, found that the good fats in avocados can combat acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a rare but deadly form of the disease.
This is because the creamy fat molecules tackle the stem cells of leukaemia, which are the root of the disease, and at the moment there are very few drugs available that are able to do this.
AML proves fatal within five years for 90 per cent of people over the age of 65.
Scientists hope to improve these numbers by creating an avocado-derived drug they say could one day significantly increase life expectancy and quality of life for sufferers.
"The stem cell is really the cell that drives the disease," Professor Paul Spagnuolo, from the University of Waterloo, which teamed up with the Canadian researchers, said. "The stem cell is largely responsible for the disease developing and it's the reason why so many patients with leukaemia 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."
In healthy people, stem cells in the bone marrow divide and grow to form fully developed mature red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells. But for people with AML, this doesn't happen and instead many abnormal leukaemia cells are made.
But the researchers have discovered that the fat molecule from avocados, called avocatin B, is able to stop this process, targeting stem cells so healthy blood cells are able to grow.
From their results, the team have now filed a patent to create the avocado-based drug.