The Internet's favorite food may have one more thing going for it: A new study suggests they contain an agent that could help treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rare and deadly form of cancer.

A marketable drug is still years away. But doctors are hopeful that the discovery could have a major impact on patients dealing with AML, for which the prognosis is currently quite grim.

“The stem cell is really the cell that drives the disease,” said Paul Spagnuolo, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, who wrote about the finding in a recent paper published in the journal Cancer Research. Stem cells cause AML to persist and patients to relapse. But a new drug made from avocatin B—a lipid found in the creamy fruit—works by targeting leukemia stem cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

Writes Spagnulo, "Not only does avocatin B eliminate the source of AML, but its targeted, selective effects make it less toxic to the body, too."

[h/t Washington Post]