Veterinary medications such as fenbendazole (FZ), mebendazole (MBZ), and albendazole (ABZ) are widely used to treat parasitic worms in dogs, but these drugs have recently been repurposed as an effective cancer treatment. This repurposing is largely due to social media (SNS) postings from self-cured cancer patients who have shared their dosage regimens online. FZ inhibits the growth of microtubules in cancer cells, which are vital to cellular processes such as cell division and movement. However, the repurposed use of these benzimidazole carbamate anthelmintics as an anticancer drug is controversial because preclinical studies have not yet shown efficacy and safety in humans.
One case in particular has drawn attention to the potential for this dewormer for cancer, a story of Joe Tippens who credits his survival to dog medicine. His regimen included taking 222 mg of fenbendazole per day seven days a week, along with CBD oil and curcumin daily. He claims this regimen was the only thing that saved him from a terminal diagnosis of advanced liver cancer in January 2022.
Tippens’ regimen has skeptics around the world scratching their heads, but researchers also aren’t dismissing this unconventional approach. Research on N. caninum indicates that it inhibits tumour development in three different ways. It can directly destroy cancerous tumour cells by forming small compartments inside them called vacuoles. It can also suppress tumour growth by reprogramming the tumour microenvironment, which is a complex process that includes regulating molecules such as VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and PD-L1 (programmed death-ligand 1), both of which promote tumour growth.