Avocados have continued to increase in popularity over the past several years as people have discovered the tasty fruit to be a great addition to a variety of dishes including sandwiches and dips. Avocado has a number of health benefits which make it a good choice and new research suggests that they may be even more beneficial than we once thought. A new study says that avocation B, a lipid (fat), found in the fruit may target leukemia stem cells while not attacking normal, healthy cells. This makes it a potential beneficial agent for patients who have acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a disease that will be fatal to more than 10,000 people this year.
Avocatin B seems to be very selective for AML cells, make it much less toxic than some other things that also affect the bad cells. Professor Paul Spagnuolo is currently studying the lipid in his lab as a potential drug molecule. Spagnuolo warns that the process of drug discovery can be very long so patients or advocates of patients should not get too excited over his agent just yet because it is likely years if not decades away from actually making it to market and that is if it can pass a number of tests that prove its efficacy as well as confirm its safety in humans. Still, people who are familiar with the field may be comforted in knowing that research is coming up with potential drugs and that someday we might get a effective and safe agent in a disease state that just does not have many options right now.
Due to the lack of other medications that are specific for AML and effective, the disease currently has a very high mortality rate and is very fatal. It is really malfunctioning stem cells that drive the disease and that is what has to be curtailed. Spagnuolo is currently looking for potential research partners, namely commercial partners who can help speed up the process of research on the drug and help some of the financial support necessary to bring such an agent into some of the more expensive types of testing.
This potential health benefit in cancer patients is but one of many benefits we have found with avocados over the years. While the research on AML is still too infantile to really say avocados help in the disease, it probably wouldn’t hurt to eat more avocados. In addition to this potential benefit we do know of some more studied benefits of the fruit including the promotion of healthy lipids in the body which can be important in creating cell membranes and neurons. Plus, it is a fruit that most people find very tasty with a very unique and creamy texture which makes it a great condiment for a number of dishes. So what are you waiting for? When you are shopping next time remember to stop by the produce section and check out some avocados if you do not already incorporate them into your everyday diet.
Image credit: Valentyn Volkov