The drug fenbendazole has been used to kill parasites for decades, but according to recent research and published data it may also be effective against cancer. The anthelmintic drug works by binding to b-tubulin microtubule subunits and disrupting their polymerization. The drug is similar to others known to have antitumor effects and to reactivate the p53 gene inside the cell, which functions as a tumor suppressor.
Stanford scientists have found that drugs based on this idea can shrink tumors in mice, but they can’t yet prove whether fenbendazole for humans cancer can help cure human cancer. That’s because other factors besides fenbendazole may have contributed to Joe Tippens’ anecdotal experience of going from terminal cancer to remission, and randomized trials that compare different treatments are needed to establish their effectiveness.
In their study, the researchers gave three daily injections of 50 mg/kg/day of fenbendazole or a placebo to mice bearing EMT6 tumors and compared their growth and response to radiation. Mice treated with fenbendazole were no longer growing tumors by the time they were killed, nor had they developed distant metastases in the lung (Table I).
In addition, they found that a drug called rapamycin, which is a standard treatment for some cancers, significantly reduced the number of surviving tumor cells. The team is continuing to investigate how fenbendazole and other b-tubulin inhibitors work to cause cancer cell death, and they’re hopeful that they can eventually translate these discoveries into human clinical trials.