There are claims on social media (particularly Facebook and TikTok) that a dog dewormer drug called fenbendazole cures cancer in humans. These claims were sparked by Joe Tippens, an American with stage four cancer who used fenbendazole along with other supplements to cure his disease.
Fenbendazole has several cellular targets, including inhibiting glucose uptake in cancer cells. It also interferes with the formation of microtubules, proteins that establish a cell’s shape and structure.
Parasites and Worms
Fenbendazole (also known as [5-(phenylthio)-1H-benzimidazol-2-yl] carbamic acid methyl ester) is an antiparasitic medication used to treat pinworms, helminths, tapeworms, whipworms and roundworms in laboratory animals, livestock, pets and humans. It has broad spectrum antiparasitic activity and may also be used as a chemotherapeutic agent in human cancer patients. Recent studies have also found that fenbendazole may inhibit the proliferation of certain cancer cells by inhibiting microtubule formation and glucose uptake.
A video circulating on TikTok and Facebook shows a Canadian veterinarian prescribing the dog dewormer drug fenbendazole to treat advanced cancer. While several peer-reviewed studies have examined this and other drugs in the same class as potential anticancer treatments, there isn’t sufficient evidence that they cure cancer.
Veterinary oncologist Joe Tippens claims that his treatment for late-stage lung cancer, which was told to be terminal, involved fenbendazole and a few other supplements. Tippens started his YouTube channel to share his story and raise awareness about the drug.
Fenbendazole works by preventing the parasites from absorbing sugar (glucose). As the worm does not have enough energy, it dies of starvation. The drug also prevents the worm from producing new cells, thus halting cell division. These mechanisms are the same ones that other anticancer medications use to treat tumors. In fact, fenbendazole has been shown to improve functional recovery after traumatic spinal cord injury by regulating the function of lymphocytes and the inflammatory response.
In animal studies, fenbendazole (methyl N-(6-phenylsulfanyl-1H-benzimidazol-2-yl) carbamate) has been found to cause microtubule disruption through binding to tubulin, one of the polymers that make up microtubules. These microtubules are part of the cytoskeleton and help give shape and structure to cells. When fenbendazole disrupts these structures, cancer cells can no longer move and grow, and they eventually die. This is similar to the way cytotoxic anticancer drugs, such as vinca alkaloids (vinblastine, vindesine, and vincristine), work by inhibiting the formation of microtubules.
Scientists also found that fenbendazole blocks the proliferation of cancer cells in cell culture experiments. It interferes with glucose metabolism in cancer cells and interferes with the p53 tumour suppressor gene, which can lead to apoptosis. This is not to say that fenbendazole will cure cancer in humans, however. There are a lot of other factors that could have played a role in Tippens’ anecdotal remission, such as the conventional cancer treatments he received and his diet.
Further research is needed to determine if fenbendazole can prevent or treat human cancer, but the results of this research are promising. If fenbendazole proves to be effective, it can be used as an add-on therapy to other cancer treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy. Developing new drugs requires significant time, money and effort, so repurposing veterinary drugs that already have promising results can significantly cut down on the amount of time and resources needed for research.
A wide range of animal anthelmintics have been studied as possible cancer treatments but turning a promising drug into an approved treatment for humans can take years. The Fenbendazole Cancer Protocol, a self-administered regimen that uses a common dog deworming medication to treat cancer, has been gaining popularity among advanced cancer patients after videos by an unlicensed veterinarian began appearing on Facebook and TikTok in February 2023.
The veterinary medicine is also widely available online, and many people are following the protocol at their own risk. There is no peer-reviewed evidence that fenbendazole kills cancer or prevents it from spreading. According to a specialist cancer information nurse at Cancer Research UK, “Fenbendazole has not gone through clinical trials and there is no evidence it can cure cancer.”
Researchers have studied fenbendazole for humans its antitumor effects in lab animals and in human cancer cells. In one study, they found that the drug binds to tubulin and disrupts its microtubule structure. This causes the cell to lose its ability to move and divide. It also interferes with glucose metabolism, leading the cancer cells to consume more energy than they should and die.
Another human study found that fenbendazole prevented tumor growth and decreased the number of cancerous cells in mice with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma. The researchers believe that fenbendazole’s multi-targeted action helps reduce the size of tumors, evades drug resistance, and prevents recurrence.
Fenbendazole, also known as 5-(phenylthio)-1H-benzimidazol-2-yl]carbamic acid methyl ester, is an antiparasitic medication. It is used to treat various parasitic infections in laboratory animals, livestock, companion animals, and people. It is typically administered orally. Its side effects include a loss of appetite, stomach upset, headache, and fatigue.
In a series of videos posted on TikTok and Facebook, an unlicensed veterinarian named Andrew Jones promotes the use of an over-the-counter dog deworming medicine as a cure for cancer. In the video, Jones discusses Joe Tippens’ story, a terminally-ill small-cell lung cancer patient who claimed to have cured his cancer by taking fenbendazole. Jones cites studies that purport to show fenbendazole has anti-cancer properties.
Despite these claims, Health Canada lists fenbendazole for veterinary use only. While several anthelmintic medications are being studied as potential cancer treatments, no peer-reviewed study has found them to be effective in humans.
However, researchers at the National Centre for Human Genome Studies and Research in India have discovered that fenbendazole shows promising anti-tumor activity in vitro (in test tubes) and in vivo (in animal models). The drug has been shown to reduce tumor growth through moderate microtubule disruption, stabilization of the cell protein p53, and interference with glucose metabolism. These findings could lead to the development of a new treatment for cancer. However, more testing is needed to confirm these results and bring fenbendazole closer to becoming an approved cancer treatment.