The repurposing of veterinary drugs has gained significant momentum in cancer treatment, with many people self-administering these medications and sharing their experiences on social media. One such example is the repurposed dewormer for cancer, fenbendazole (FZ), which is commonly used in veterinary medicine to treat parasitic worms and is also safe for humans. FZ is a member of the benzimidazole carbamate (BZ) group and works by targeting a specific part of the cell to kill it.
The anecdotal accounts of a man named Joe Tippens who claims to have cured his lung cancer by using a dog dewormer have garnered millions of views on Facebook posts and TikTok videos. A few preclinical studies suggest a potential role for FZ in treating human cancers, but these findings are far from conclusive.
In fact, there is no evidence that fenbendazole cures cancer in people. The compound is actually an antiparasitic drug that blocks the proper growth of microtubules, which provide structure to cells. Normally, these microtubules grow slowly to support the cell’s growth; however, in cancer cells, these microtubules grow rapidly and can cause the cell to collapse and die.
In order to test this hypothesis, Chen partnered with Dr. Robert Riggins, an oncologist at University of Virginia Health System. Riggins is an expert in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer. He found that FZ, or its close cousin NEN, when combined with sorafenib, the standard of care for HCC, reversed disease genes in a patient-derived liver tissue engrafted into experimental mice. dewormer for cancer