A popular deworming drug used to treat parasites and worms in animals – also known as the Joe Tippens Protocol or Fenbendazole Cancer Treatment — appears to prevent and cure advanced pancreatic cancer. The study published in Oncotarget on July 6 shows that the antiparasitic drug mebendazole, which works by cutting off a parasite’s supply of food by collapsing its structure, can do the same in human cancer cells.

Cells establish their shape and structure through a protein scaffold called the cytoskeleton, which in turn is composed of microtubules. Textbook depictions of cells usually portray a chaotic collection of cellular components (organelles) floating in amorphous bags of liquid. In reality, the cytoskeleton is highly dynamic and constantly reassembles and disassembles to meet the needs of the cell. This process is critical for the onset of cell division, when chromosomes are lined up at metaphase and evenly separated at anaphase to form two new cells. This even separation is accomplished through a structure called the mitotic spindle, which is formed of a component called tubulin. Drugs that interfere with the formation and activity of microtubules disrupt a variety of vital cellular processes and inhibit cellular growth.

This led the researchers to test whether a widely-used, anthelminthic medication with similar mechanisms of action, fenbendazole, might reduce the growth of human cancer cells and increase the antineoplastic effects of radiation and chemotherapeutic drugs. Febendazole was able to induce cytotoxicity in EMT6 human mammary carcinoma cells in vitro, but not in normal mouse mammary glands. The researchers then combined fenbendazole with a number of radiation and chemotherapeutic agents, including doxorubicin, paclitaxel, and gemcitabine. The results showed that combinations of these highly intensive treatments were much more effective in reducing the growth of tumors compared with the most intense single-agent regimens and did not alter the dose-response curves for radiation or docetaxel. In addition, fenbendazole did not affect the sensitivity of EMT6 cells to hypoxia or enhance the effects of ionizing radiation and chemotherapy on these tumors. fenbendazole for humans cancer

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