Is It True That Fenbendazole Cures Cancer?

When a cancer patient claims that an inexpensive, over-the-counter antiparasitic drug cures his or her disease, it’s usually best to ignore the anecdote. That’s especially true if the patient hasn’t undergone any clinical trials to determine if what happened was a fluke.

But this didn’t stop Tippens from spreading his story, which soon went viral on social media and prompted many people to stock up on the medication. The nonprofit organization Cancer Research UK told PolitiFact that the evidence doesn’t support the claim that fenbendazole cures cancer. But that didn’t deter people from buying fenbendazole, which is still available for purchase in some pharmacies.

According to a press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine, fenbendazole belongs to a class of drugs called benzimidazole carbamates and is used to treat infections caused by giardiasis, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, the tapeworm genus Taenia, pinworms, and Aelurostrongylus. It works by cutting off the parasites’ supply of nutrition by preventing the formation of a protein called tubulin. The drug then collapses the tube, starving the parasite to death. Researchers found that fenbendazole causes the same effect in pancreatic cancer cells by blocking the cell’s energy production, inhibiting its growth, and triggering the breakdown of the cell’s structure.

A separate study on mice found that fenbendazole slows tumor growth and extends survival after the mice are given a tumor-causing genetic mutation. The scientists who conducted that study aren’t yet able to say whether the same thing will happen in humans, but they hope to continue their work through human clinical trials.  fenbendazole cures cancer