Can Fish Oil Cure Leukemia?

Research published in Blood concluded that a compound found in fish oil kills cancer causing stem cells in the spleen and bone marrow of mice by activating a gene-p53-in leukemia stem cells that program the cell’s own death. “p53 is a tumor suppressor gene that regulates the responses to DNA damage and maintains genomic stability” according to the researcher. Killing the stem cells is important because they can divide and and produce more cancer cells.
The compound from fish oil that seems to target leukemia stem cells is delta-12-protagiandin J3, or D12-PGJ3. It killed the stem cells of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in mice.
Current treatment for leukemia is unable to kill the leukemia stem cells and the patient must continue to take medications or the disease will relapse because stem cells are resistant to the drugs. Thus, this is an important discovery.
During the study, researchers injected each mouse with about 600 nanograms of D12-PGJ3 daily for a week. Results showed that the mice were completely cured, the blood count was normal, and the spleen returned to a normal size. There was no relapse of the disease.
The researchers are currently studying whether or not the compound can be used to treat terminal stages of CML because currently there are no drugs available that can treat this stage of the disease.

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