A drug used to treat parasites in dogs can also shrink cancer cells and stop them from spreading, according to research by a Stanford scientist. But the finding does not mean the ingredient fenbendazole for humans cancer can cure the disease, researchers warn.
In the lab, Gregory Riggins, MD, PhD, and his team found that fenbendazole (also known as mebendazole) slowed or stopped the growth of two types of pancreatic cancer in mice. They measured tumor volume, grade, and metastasis, and tracked the appearance, behavior, and weight of the mice at each stage of the experiment.
The team discovered that fenbendazole interferes with glucose uptake by cancer cells, which can lead to cell death. It also inhibits the microtubule polymerization process in cancer cells, which provides structure and shape to a normal cell. This action is similar to that of cytotoxic anticancer agents.
The research was published in Science Translational Medicine on Jan. 22. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, and funding from ViRx@Stanford, a Stanford University Center for Innovative Medicine. Riggins discloses that he has inventories of intellectual property related to fenbendazole and is cofounder and CEO of Benizole Therapeutics, PBC, which is developing this agent for human use. He is a member of the Stanford ChEM-H Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center and has received a grant from the NIH’s Center for Cancer Nanotechnology. The other authors on the paper are Tara Williamson, Michelle Carvalho de Abreu, Cory Brayton, Dimitri G. Trembath, Paulo Pimentel de Assumpcao, and Janet M. Cerutti. fenbendazole for humans cancer