When Joe Tippens was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer, his doctor told him he only had three months to live. But the Edmond, Oklahoma man wasn’t ready to give up hope and headed to MD Anderson in Houston for chemo and radiation treatments. While these helped shrink the tumor, a PET scan still showed his cancer had spread to other organs and bones, meaning there was no cure.
Tippens then heard about a dewormer for dogs that some were claiming could cure cancer in humans, fenbendazole (or FZ). Also known as albendazole or Panacur, it’s an anti-parasitic drug prescribed by veterinarians to protect against gastrointestinal parasites in animals like dogs, cats and livestock. It has never been approved by the FDA for use in people to treat cancer, but rumors began spreading online after a TikTok video of an unlicensed Canadian veterinarian promoting FZ as a treatment for cancer went viral last year.
Research shows that FZ can potentially suppress the growth of certain types of cancers in lab animals, but it has not been proven to be effective as a human cancer treatment. It works by targeting the microtubules that provide structure to all cells. While normal cells have these, cancer cells develop mutations in them and grow out of control.
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