A few years ago, Joe Tippens was diagnosed with a late-stage lung cancer and told he had three months to live. It was a prognosis that left the Edmond, Oklahoma, man determined to do whatever it took to see his first grandchild, so he began searching for approaches outside of mainstream medicine. That led him to take the spice curcumin, CBD oil and mega-doses of vitamin E. He also started taking something called fenbendazole, a drug that’s approved by the FDA to rid dogs and other animals of parasites and sold online for as little as $10 a pill. And, according to Tippens, it worked.
His claim has cancer researchers scrambling and many scratching their heads. But it’s true: Fenbendazole, also known by the commercial name Panacur C, can be used to kill cancer cells, and it has been shown in preclinical studies to have a number of other cancer-fighting properties.
The dewormer works by targeting the tubulin protein that serves as a skeleton for the cell’s inner workings and a highway for transporting proteins. The drug binds to the protein and causes it to collapse, cutting off the parasite’s supply of nutrition and starving it to death. Researchers believe the same thing may happen to tumors in humans, and they’re investigating how fenbendazole and its human counterpart, menbendazole, might help treat a wide range of cancers.
As a result, some patients with advanced cancer are now repurposing veterinary drugs for their own use. On social media platforms like TikTok and Facebook, there are videos posted by unlicensed veterinarians claiming that dog dewormers such as fenbendazole can cure cancer.
However, such claims are unproven. While preclinical research is underway, the only way to test if the repurposed drugs can actually work in humans is to run clinical trials that involve human volunteers and establish the proper dosages. This is an extremely difficult task and would require a massive investment of time, money and effort.
It’s also risky for people to repurpose veterinary drugs without proper guidance from medical professionals. A person who self-administers a repurposed anticancer drug while participating in a clinical trial could ruin the results and put him or her at significant health risks.
A number of reputable medical centers including MD Anderson and Johns Hopkins have begun studying the effects of fenbendazole and menbendazole on human patients. But it will likely be years before the medications are ready for use, and it’s important for patients to consult their doctors before making decisions about what to do in the meantime. dewormer for cancer