Researchers at the National Centre for Human Genome Studies and Research, Panjab University in India have discovered that fenbendazole, a benzimidazole that is commonly used as an anti-parasitic agent to treat parasitic worm infections in animals like horses, could potentially be a powerful anti-cancer drug as well. The team found that fenbendazole can disrupt cancer cells by interfering with proteasomal interference and microtubule function as well as starving the cancer cell of glucose, which is needed for survival.
The team published their results in Scientific Reports. They tested the effect of fenbendazole on multiple types of human tumor cells in laboratory settings and found that it was able to significantly reduce cancer cell viability and growth. In a mouse model of cancer, the team found that mice treated with fenbendazole had much fewer lung metastases than mice not receiving fenbendazole treatment. Specifically, the mice that received fenbendazole showed no local invasion of the tumor or lymph node metastases compared to non-treated mice, regardless of whether they were irradiated or not.
Fenbendazole has also been shown to cause apoptosis in cancer cells. This process, known as necroptosis, is a natural way for cancer cells to kill themselves by destroying the proteins they need for survival. In a lab experiment, the researchers found that fenbendazole caused cancer cells to express protein markers of necroptosis, including caspase-8, RIP, RIP3, pMLKL, and MLKL. In addition, the experiments revealed that fenbendazole caused a significant decrease in the number of cancer cells that were able to absorb glucose and exhibited apoptosis when exposed to insulin.
The researchers have suggested that fenbendazole works through a combination of moderate microtubule disruption, p53 stabilization, and interference with glucose uptake. By preventing the cancer cells from absorbing glucose, they effectively starve them, causing them to die off. They also found that fenbendazole interfered with the appearance of glucose transporter isoform 4 (GLUT4) in cell membranes, which is required for glucose absorption, and this also helped to inhibit cancer cells from absorbing sugar.
Another reason why fenbendazole might be effective against cancer is that it is typically tolerated well by humans. According to a research report from the European Medicine Agency, single doses of up to 2,000 mg per person didn’t cause any serious side effects in a matter of ten days.
Despite the fact that fenbendazole has been shown to work well in laboratory settings, the scientists who worked on this project say there’s still not enough evidence to prove that it can cure cancer in people. This is because other factors, such as the conventional treatments Joe Tippens received, may have played a role in his anecdotal remission and can’t be accounted for. To come to any conclusive findings, randomized clinical trials would need to be performed on a large number of people. For now, the team is continuing to investigate other ways fenbendazole might be able to help fight cancer. This includes testing its potential for preventing the recurrence of cancer after other treatments are finished. fenbendazole for humans