Researchers have found that fenbendazole, an anthelmintic used to treat roundworm, hookworm and other parasitic diseases, can also kill cancer cells in lab experiments. It works by targeting a microtubulin protein that is both a part of the cancer cell’s inner skeleton and a highway for transporting nutrients. The drug interferes with the formation of these tubulin proteins, starving the cancer cells of their nutrition and causing them to collapse.
The research was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research and consists of three experiments using the EMT6 human pancreatic cancer cell line. In one experiment, the cells were cultured in glass 96-well plates and treated with varying concentrations of fenbendazole (0.001 mM to 10 mM) for 2 h, after which they were assayed for viability. Cells were also exposed to X-ray radiation, and the number of surviving colonies was recorded. The results showed that fenbendazole had no effect on tumor growth in unirradiated cultures, but did significantly reduce cellular viability in irradiated cells when the concentration of fenbendazole was increased.
The nonprofit organization Cancer Research UK told Full Fact that there is no evidence that fenbendazole cures cancer, and that the drug hasn’t gone through clinical trials to find out whether it is safe or effective for humans. In addition, Joe Tippens, the US man who claimed that he cured his pancreatic cancer with fenbendazole and a combination of supplements, was participating in a clinical trial for a different treatment at the time of his claim. This means that it’s impossible to know if his improvement was caused by the fenbendazole alone. fenbendazole for humans cancer