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This Super Fruit Provides Clue to Fighting Blood Cancer, New Study Shows

Americans’ favorite fruit may help fight acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

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Aakash Molpariya
Aakash started in Nov 2018 as a writer at Revyuh.com. Since joining, as writer, he is mainly responsible for Software, Science, programming, system administration and the Technology ecosystem, but due to his versatility he is used for everything possible. He writes about topics ranging from AI to hardware to games, stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. He is a trained IT systems engineer and has studied computer science. By the way, he is enthusiastic about his own small projects in game development, hardware-handicraft, digital art, gaming and music. Email: aakash (at) revyuh (dot) com

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), mostly known by the name of Leukemia, is an aggressive form of cancer of the blood and it is considered the deadliest of all blood cancers, killing three out of four patients within five years.

Leukemia is a type of blood cancer — specifically the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. It affects the three cells in the blood: platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. Billions of blood cells are produced in the bone marrow daily, but when the body gets leukemia, it creates more white cells (lymphoid and myeloid), and everything is thrown out.

Screening data have shown that long-chain fatty acid metabolism is critical for the survival of acute myeloid leukemia cells.

Now, a new study says that Avocados aren’t just Americans’ favorite fruit; they also may contain a key to fighting leukemia.

Avocado, the fruit of the evergreen tree Persea americana, belonging to the laurel family, is popular among health enthusiasts. And for good reason: this fruit, although it contains a large amount of fat, is considered a dietary product and has a high nutritional value and a rich structure. It is rich in fiber, potassium, fiber, essential fats, and antioxidants. Avocado is not only good for the intestines, but also lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and also has a beneficial effect on sex drive.

A team of scientists from the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) has identified another important property of avocado, which offers a new effective way to treat acute myeloid leukemia.

Leukemic cells are rich in a mitochondrial enzyme called Very longchain acylCoA dehydrogenase, or simply VLCAD, according to a study published in the journal Blood. Because it promotes the growth of tumor cells, scientists have identified it as a target for therapy. The team of researchers screened public databases of nutraceuticals – dietary supplements and various foods – in search of the right substance to inhibit VLCAD.

This turned out to be Avocatin B – a molecule from the class of fats found in avocados. It has previously been proposed and tested for diabetes prevention and obesity control. 

“This compound targets an enzyme that we first identified as critical for the growth of cancer cells: it led to decreased viability, proliferation, clonogenic growth and engraftment of leukemia cells. Therefore, VLCAD can be a good marker for identifying patients who are eligible for this type of therapy,” said Dr. Paul A. Spagnuolo, Corresponding Author.

According to experts, about half of patients over 65 years old who have been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia seek palliative care, while the rest go to chemotherapy with drugs such as poison or toxin that adversely affect an infectious agent. 

Avocatin B is seen as a non-toxic therapy, and the next goal of scientists is to conduct clinical trials in humans to confirm its effectiveness in the treatment of leukemia.

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