The drug fenben is often used to treat parasites in animals. It has been repurposed by researchers as a cancer treatment for humans. Researchers have shown that it can kill tumor cells by inhibiting the growth of microtubules, the structures that hold cellular organelles together. A recent study has also shown that it can reactivate the p53 gene inside cancer cells, causing them to die off. In addition, fenben has been found to be safe for humans when taken orally at prescribed doses.
The repurposing of drugs is an important and growing area of medical research. The process involves searching for a drug that can block the activity of a particular gene, such as p53, which is mutated in many types of cancers. This can lead to the development of new treatments that could help patients survive their disease.
In a recent study, scientists showed that fenben, an antiparasitic medication commonly used to treat parasites in livestock, can kill human cancer cells by disrupting the cytoskeleton of tumor cells and blocking their ability to absorb glucose. The molecule can also prevent the formation of new blood vessels that would support cancer cell growth.
Scientists analyzed the effect of fenbendazole on different kinds of cancer cells in culture. They observed that the drug caused a rapid drop in cell viability at low concentrations, and that it had a plateau effect when the concentration was above the limit of its solubility. The results were similar when the cells were treated under severe hypoxia.
Several studies have demonstrated that the broad-spectrum benzimidazole antihelminthic fenbendazole (FZ) has antitumor activity in vivo and in vitro. Its mechanism of action is not completely understood but it has been suggested that FZ might exert its anti-neoplastic activity by disrupting cellular cytoskeletal structure and inhibiting cell proliferation by affecting the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis.
A case study was conducted in which a patient suffering from non-small cell lung cancer received FZ orally to treat his cancer. The patient self-administered the drug to avoid expensive chemotherapy and radiation therapies. However, the patient died from liver failure due to long-term fenbendazole use.
Although Health Canada lists fenbendazole as for veterinary use only, researchers are exploring the potential of animal anthelmintics as cancer treatments in humans. A 2020 study showed that some of these medicines can help cancer cells to die, and two anthelmintic drugs are currently in trial for their efficacy against cancer. However, turning these results into a viable and safe cancer treatment will take time. fenben for humans