Fat Found In Avocado Could Help Fight Certain Cancers

Researchers have discovered a lipid found in avocados that attacks acute myeloid leukemia stem cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
Posted at 10:52 PM, Jun 16, 2015

There may have been a time when avocados were thought of as nothing more than a guacamole ingredient, but those days are over. 

Now, if you see a list of "superfoods," foods with good fat profiles or high vitamin content, it's a pretty safe bet avocados will make the cut. 

And they may even be the key to fighting some types of cancer. Researchers at the University of Waterloo have been studying how a molecule found in avocados could one day fight off acute myeloid leukemia. 

The findings come from the lab of Paul Spagnuolo, where researchers test a variety of compounds found in common foods, looking for promising treatment applications. 

The research, published in the journal Cancer Research, details how the avocado-derived substance attacks the leukemia stem cells, combating the disease while leaving healthy cells unharmed. 

The findings don't necessarily mean eating avocados can directly fight acute myeloid leukemia, but they do mean that a new treatment option may be on the way for an aggressive disease that kills more than 10,000 Americans each year. 

This video includes images from Jaanus Silla / CC BY 2.0, Scot Nelson / CC BY SA 2.0 and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.