Pancreatic Cancer and Fenbendazole

Pancreatic cancer, the disease that killed Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek last year, causes malignant tumors to develop and spread throughout the body. Although the five-year survival rate is just eight percent, new treatment strategies offer patients hope of surviving the disease.

The most common treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Surgical intervention involves the removal of cancerous tissue from the body; radiation uses high-energy X-rays to target and destroy tumor cells; and chemotherapy kills or inhibits the growth of cancer cells by targeting the DNA of these cells.

In addition, a growing number of patients are treated with immunotherapy, an approach that harnesses the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. But, until recently, pancreatic cancer was a notable exception to this promising new trend, as it is adept at manipulating the tumor microenvironment to thwart the body’s natural defenses.

To counter this, researchers have been searching for innovative ways to strengthen the body’s natural ability to combat pancreatic cancer. One new technique involves an antiparasitic medication known as fenbendazole (Panacur, Safe-Guard). Originally developed to eradicate roundworm and hookworm by starving parasitic infections of their sustenance, fenbendazole works by interfering with the formation of microtubules. Microtubules are a protein scaffold that help to give shape and structure to the inside of a cell.

By preventing the production of microtubules, fenbendazole can collapse tumors from within. A study in genetically engineered mice found that fenbendazole prevents pancreatic cancer from forming, growing or spreading. A similar anthelmintic drug called mebendazole has also been shown to have potential as a cancer treatment and is under investigation for its anticancer properties. fenbendazole for pancreatic cancer

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