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Preclinical Research Finds That Omega-3 Fatty Acid EPA Kills Leukemia-Causing Stem Cells

December 22, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that tested a compound derived from an omega-3 fatty acid in fish and fish oil found that it targeted and killed the stem cells of myelogenous leukemia in mice. The researchers, who have applied for a patent for the compound, known as delta-12-prostaglandin J3, or D12-PGJ3, say their next step is to test its efficacy in human trials. Prior research on fatty acids has shown the health benefits for the cardiovascular system and brain development, particularly in infants. The new research shows that some metabolites of omega-3, specifically EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid, can selectively kill leukemia-causing stem cells. "The important thing is that the mice were completely cured of leukemia with no relapse," the researchers said.
Shailaja Hegde et al., "Δ12-prostaglandin J3, an omega-3 fatty acid–derived metabolite, selectively ablates leukemia stem cells in mice", Blood, December 22, 2011, © American Society of Hematology
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