Can Avocados Help Treat Cancer?

Paul Spagnuolo
Prof. Paul Spagnuolo will study and avocado-derived leukaemia drug.

Do avocados pack a cancer-fighting punch? University of Guelph food science professor Paul Spagnuolo hopes to find out, backed by a $200,000 grant from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

Spagnuolo is studying an avocado-derived leukemia drug he developed. The anti-AML (acute myeloid leukemia) drug doesn’t kill healthy cells but targets cancer cells in a unique way, he says.

“We found that it killed leukemia cells and leukemia stem cells, which are the root of the disease. Our goal is to develop the drug to where it becomes a treatment option for people.”

Few treatment options exist for children or elderly patients with leukemia.

Spagnuolo will collaborate with cancer researchers at the University of Toronto, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Ottawa University and McMaster University. They hope to secure funding to conduct clinical trials.