As if there weren’t already enough amazing benefits of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil, along comes a new study from Penn State researches, published in the recent issue of Blood (Blood 2011 118:6909-6919), with the promise of a possible cure for Leukemia.
Granted, there is much more to learn about this connection, since the studies have only been performed on mice at this time, but the possibilities are exciting. According to researchers, our bodies have the ability to produce a compound from EPA, an omega 3 fatty acid, which actually targets AND kills stem cells of “chronic myelogenous leukemia” or CML for short.
This compound, called “delta-12-protaglandin J3 (or D12-PGJ3), is the only thing that’s been shown to kill leukemia stem cells. In fact, the mice in the study were not only cured, but their biomarkers returned to normal and the leukemia never returned.
Currently, the only approach available for treating leukemia fails to completely cure the patient. It will lower the number of leukemia cells and extend their life, as long as the person keeps receiving therapy, but it will not kill the stem cells or give them any hope of complete recovery. So you can see why this breakthrough is so exciting for researchers and leukemia sufferers alike.
But the excitement doesn’t end there! Apparently leukemia stem cells have a sneaky ability to “hide” from the current form of treatment, frustrating both doctors and patients. Later down the road these hidden stem cells can easily give rise to more leukemia cells, compounding the problem. However, D12-PGJ3 has the ability to search and destroy leukemia cells, so if they are trying to hide the D12-PGJ3 will find them and kill them.
We look forward to more studies into the benefits of D12-PGJ3. Can you imagine a world without leukemia?