Dr Gregory Riggins lab at John Hopkins was known for researching gene mutations that cause cancer as well as to develop new medications in preclinical setting before suggesting them for further clinical trials.
Previously the researcher and his colleagues had no trouble at inducing glioblastoma brain cancer in rodents. However, one day they encountered a group of mice that had failed to develop any tumors.
The scientists investigated the possible cause of this interesting event and found out that the mice were pre-treated with a veterinary anthelmintic medication – fenbendazole.
This interesting accidental discovery lead the researchers to more studies directed to the anticancer effect of fenbendazole and other benzimidazole compounds such as mebendazole, albendazole, niclosamide and ivermectin.
According to the scientists, fenbendazole has a high safety margin and most of animals, including humans, tolerate this substance quite well. Previous safety studies in laboratory animals have shown that this de-worming drug has a high degree of safety and low toxicity risk.
This meant that fenbendazole could be a great candidate for anticancer therapy as one of the main drugs in various tumor treatment regimens as well as an additional measure for surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
In the last decade, fenbendazole has gained popularity over the world as one of the choices to help cancer patients. Nevertheless, the data on fenbendazole efficacy is quite scarce as the drug is already widely available over the world and pharmaceutical companies cannot patent it to make additional profit. Therefore, no large investors have appeared in making further steps in uncovering the information on how fenbendazole could be applied in everyday practice to keep cancer at bay.
Currently, people in social media are sharing their experiences about this old medication and its use in their journey against cancer. Luckily, there is sufficient toxicology and pre-clinical data that can guide people willing to try this veterinary drug out on how to prevent side-effects as well as gain a broader understanding on how it could aid in cancer treatment.
Ultimately, additional clinical studies could finally answer the main questions on how this compound could serve those in need.