Fenben for cancer: de-wormer medication shows promise as a treatment
A drug that’s commonly used to treat parasitic worm infections in humans (pinworms, giardia, roundworms, hookworms, whipworm) is also known to destroy certain types of cancer cells in the lab. The drug works by destroying microtubules in the cell, which are responsible for its structure and ability to grow and divide. It also stops the cancer cells from processing sugar, which they must do to survive. Finally, it boosts the production of a gene that helps keep the cancer cells from multiplying in an uncontrolled way.
Researchers tested how fenbendazole – or mebendazole, as it’s often called in the US – affected glucose uptake in human cancer cells. They used a type of cancer called non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC. The cells were exposed to fenbendazole and then put in special hypoxia conditions to simulate the environment inside a tumor. The scientists then compared the amount of glucose they took up when the cells were treated with fenbendazole, as compared to when they were treated with vehicle only.
The researchers found that fenbendazole’s mebendazole-like action interfered with microtubule polymerization, similar to the action of cytotoxic anticancer drugs such as colchicine and other vinca alkaloids. It also caused p53 activation and the down regulation of genes that regulate glucose uptake and expression of key glycolytic enzymes. The results suggest that mebendazole may be able to combine with radiation, surgery and other conventional chemotherapeutic agents such as sodium dichloroacetate, to effectively eliminate tumors. fenben for cancer