Professor Paul Spagnuolo in University of Waterloo discovered a lipid in avocados that combats acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by targeting the root of the disease – leukemia stem cells. Worldwide, there are few drug treatments available to patients that target leukemia stem cells. AML is a devastating disease and proves fatal within five years for 90 per cent of seniors over age 65. Spagnuolo said that the stem cell is largely responsible for the disease developing and it’s the reason why so many patients with leukemia relapse. They performed many rounds of testing to determine how the new drug worked at a molecular level and confirmed that it targets stem cells selectively, leaving healthy cells unharmed.