Sun. Sep 24th, 2023

Fenbendazole (Panacur, Safe-Guard) is a medication used to treat parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworm, lungworms and certain types of tapeworms in dogs. It has also been suggested that fenbendazole may be effective in treating cancer and other diseases. However, the evidence supporting this claim is weak.

A man from the US named Joe Tippens claimed that taking fenbendazole and other supplements along with conventional treatment cured his cancer in 2016. This claim spread on social media after an interview of the patient published by the journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers tested fenbendazole in a laboratory dish and mice with cancer, but found no evidence that it can cure cancer in people. They did find, however, that fenbendazole and its cousin mebendazole could stop pancreatic cancer cells from growing in a mouse model.

In the lab, fenbendazole works by blocking tubulin polymerization, which is needed for cell division. It is already used to treat some parasitic infections by cutting off the parasite’s supply of food, Riggins explains. The drug gets into the parasite’s gut and collapses their structure, starving them to death.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that fenbendazole, which is similar to mebendazole, can do the same for cancer cells. They also found that the benzimidazole drugs can prevent cancers from growing in the laboratory, or in vitro. The research was supported by the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research.

To test the anti-cancer effects of fenbendazole in SNU-C5 and SNU-C5/5-FUR CRC cells, they treated the cells with varying doses of the drug. Interestingly, both the low and high doses of fenbendazole showed time-dependent anti-proliferative effects. At lower concentrations, fenbendazole induced G2/M arrest by inhibiting the cyclin B1/CDK1 cycle in these cells. At higher concentrations, it induced cell death by triggering p53-mediated apoptosis and ferroptosis-augmented apoptosis in these cells.

They also observed that fenbendazole reduced the tumor mass in SNU-C5/5-FUR and SNU-C5 wild-type cell lines by promoting apoptosis, autophagy and ferroptosis. Moreover, fenbendazole significantly increased p53 expression in both wild-type and mutant p53 SNU-C5/5-FUR cells, and the activity of p53-mediated apoptosis was less dependent on p21 in p53 mutant SNU-C5/5-FUR cancer cells. Thus, fenbendazole appears to be a promising candidate as an alternative therapy in 5-fluorouracil-resistant colorectal cancer cells by targeting the p53-p21 axis. The findings of this study provide the first demonstration that a benzimidazole can induce the G2/M arrest and cell-cycle progression arrest in human CRCs. The authors acknowledge that additional studies are required to confirm and extend these results in clinical trials in patients with a wide range of CRCs. They also suggest that the effects of fenbendazole may be enhanced when combined with standard treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. The full paper can be read in its entirety here. A video about this article is available here. Adding complementary and alternative treatments to your normal cancer care may improve outcomes, but always talk to your doctor before trying any new supplement or treatment. fenbendazole for cancer

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