Researchers have found that fenben, an anti-parasitic drug used to treat parasitic worms in animals like dogs and horses, could also be effective against cancer. It is currently being researched as a potential treatment for human cancer, as it causes the death of cancer cells through necroptosis, a form of cell suicide. The results of the study were published in Scientific Reports.
The researchers found that fenbendazole, or FBZ, inhibited the growth of a number of different types of cancer cells and caused them to self-destruct in a process called necroptosis. The drug disrupts microtubule dynamics, activates p53 and modulates genes involved in several cellular pathways to eliminate cancer cells. The drug also interferes with glucose metabolism by reducing expression of GLUT transporters and key glycolytic enzymes that cancer cells use to fuel themselves. The drug also prevents tumor growth in a mouse model.
This finding was based on research into a repurposed use of the drug, which is already approved by governing bodies to be used in humans to remove parasitic worms. This type of repurposing is a common strategy for advancing promising drugs that aren’t yet ready to go through clinical trials.
While the findings are encouraging, researchers warn that more studies need to be conducted before fenben can be recommended as a treatment for cancer. They also note that their study did not address the issue of whether the anecdotal stories about fenben cures are accurate, which is why further research is needed.
For the study, scientists interviewed 21 lung cancer patients about their experience with fenben for cancer. Participants were asked to answer a semi-structured questionnaire, which included questions about the source and type of information they received about fenbendazole and about their perception toward complementary and alternative medicine.
The interviews were analyzed to identify common themes. For example, most of the interviewees reported receiving a lot of false information about fenben for cancer and other treatments. They also said that they often did not trust media sources. However, many of them actively searched for information on YouTube. They found that while most of the information they got from YouTube was false, it was also a source for verified and cross-checked information. The findings indicate that patients are willing to seek out alternative treatment methods if they think they are more effective than conventional medicine. However, patients need to be aware of the risks and benefits of these methods and to work closely with their doctors. This is especially important if they are undergoing other forms of treatment that are more likely to be effective against their type of cancer. fenben for cancer