Anti-Worm drug, Fenbendazole, effective at killing cancer cells

Anti-Worm drug, Fenbendazole, effective at killing cancer cells

Mounting research is showing how the drug fenbendazole, most typically used as a canine deworming drug in veterinary practice, can block sugar uptake in cancer cells, kill cancer cells, reduce tumour size and even overcome cancer drug resistance, making it another 'repurposed drug' that can be used to treat cancer.

Fenbendazole inhibits tumour growth

Back in 2014, a team of researchers at top American Hospital Johns Hopkins was trying to grow tumours in laboratory mice. Except with one group of mice, they failed. The reason they discovered, was that the mice had been de-wormed (1) with an anti-parasitic drug. They read more about the drug, only to find that anti-cancer activity had previously been reported (writes Gilly Bertram).

Fenbendazole comes from a class of drugs called benzimidazoles, which are commonly used in veterinary medicine for anti-worm and parasite treatments. They are used effectively to kill worms such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and some tapeworms as well as parasites. Parasitic worms are known as helminths and these drugs are also known as anthelminthic, or antihelminthic, drugs. Fenbendazole is branded under names like Panacur and Safe-Guard.

Research suggests that fenbendazole inhibits tumour growth by inducing apoptosis (cell death) of tumour cells. Researchers are also finding that fenbendazole could be useful for overcoming drug resistance which is a common setback in conventional cancer therapies.

In a 2018 paper published in Nature (2), the authors report that fenbendazole appears to act as a destabilising agent of microtubules which are important structural proteins making up the cytoskeleton of cells and these proteins allow the microscopic organs inside our cells (called organelles) to move throughout the cell. The researchers conclude that there is evidence of cancer cell death by the modulation of multiple cellular pathways, which may lead to the effective elimination of cancer cells.

The use of anthelminthic drugs with cancer, however, is nothing new.

Scientific literature prior to the 2018 Nature paper demonstrated the effective use of fenbendazole for various types of cancer cells such as Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (3), Lymphoma (4) Metastatic prostate cancer cells (5) and Glioblastoma, or GBM (6).

In the early 90s, another antihelminthic drug called Levamizole was shown as a effective complementary treatment for colon cancer (CRC) and was shown to restore a depressed immune system.

A further anti-cancer mechanism the researchers found with fenbendazole was that it blocked the uptake of glucose in cancer cells, depriving them of their primary fuel. This discovery supports the use of fenbendazole as an complementary therapy to chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as metabolic therapies. Another study showed prostate cancer cells were killed where fenbendazole was used together with vitamin E succinate (8).

A fenbendazole anti-cancer protocol?

Anecdotal evidence comes from cancer patient Joe Tippens, an avid researcher who was given three months to live, who decided to try Panacur with the agreement of his consultant (9). Joe took a combination of nutrients alongside fenbendazole, while deciding not to change his diet. It worked!

  • 1 gram granules (3 days on, 4 days off) of canine drug ‘Panacur C’, which contains 222mg of fenbendazole
  • Vitamin E Succinate (800IU daily)
  • Curcumin (600mg daily)
  • CBD oil (25mg per day)

Febendazole toxicity and safety in humans

Although the original clinical approval for fenbendazole was for intestinal parasites and not for cancer, the drug has already gone through human clinical trials and so all of the clinical trial work related to toxicity has already been done and febendazole has been deemed safe for human consumption for many years. 

However, the label for the product approval talks of animals not humans. In animals it is known that there is a likely interaction with salicylanilides like Niclosamide and Dibromsalan.

Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive said, "Fenbendazole is yet another example of a cheap, safe drug intended for a specific health condition, which can be repurposed to be used to treat cancer. There is no doubt it has strong properties but some cancer experts prefer to use Mebendazole, which is commonly licensed for humans rather than animals! We do have an article on CANCERactive about many such repurposed drugs from Metformin to Mebendazole."

Go to: Repurposed drugs as cancer treatments



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