Research of PU Team featured at No. 11 of Top Oncology Papers

Chandigarh, September 18, 2020: The joint research by Prof. Tapas Mukhopadhyay, Professor & Director (Retd.),National Centre for Human Genome Studies & Research, Panjab University and his team including Dr. Nilambra Dogra and Dr. Ashok Kumar for finding an effective and safe anti-cancer option from the repertoire of available tested drugs was published in the journal Scientific Reports and featured at #11 amongst the top 100 oncology papers.
The paper has attracted widespread attention.
Through ‘drug repurposing’ strategy the team has identified Fenbendazole (FZ) – a veterinary deworming drug – as a safe, inexpensive and effective anti-cancer agent.
Thanks to decades of motivated research, more people than ever before are surviving cancer.
However, the task is still far from accomplished and the disease continues to claim many lives and ‘cancer’ still remains a dreaded word.
A vast majority of cancer therapies suffer from the two most common issues encountered in cancer treatment – toxicity and drug resistance.
Finding a way to overcome these hurdles remains a challenge for cancer researchers.
Laboratory grown cancer cells originating from various tissues (lung, prostate, colon, breast etc.) could be killed by exposing them to different doses of fenbendazole.
Importantly, their results showed that FZ was non-toxic to normal cells at doses at which it killed cancer cells.
To evaluate the efficacy of the drug better, the results were confirmed in a mouse model bearing tumor of human origin.
Mice fed with FZ showed a considerable decrease in tumor size.
Through their experiments, the researchers demonstrated that FZ acted by targeting multiple cellular pathways including microtubules, enhancing p53 levels, hampering glucose uptake and glycolysis as well as inhibiting the proteasomal pathway of protein degradation.
Cancer progression involves a number of factors affecting multiple components of the cell.
Thus, drugs against single targets often show limited efficacy, and furthermore, they may eventually lead to drug resistance, since cancer cells are clever and resourceful enough to rely on other pathways for growth and survival when one pathway is blocked.
Drugs targeting several cellular components simultaneously are expected to be more effective besides being able to evade the likelihood of developing resistance.
This work proposes FZ as a multitargeting effective inexpensive repurposed drug for cancer treatment.
Since the publication of this research, the authors have been contacted by people who shared how they had benefitted from FZ.
Though this drug cannot yet be prescribed for cancer treatment, some terminally ill patients have self-administered FZ in the absence of other alternatives and shared their success stories with the authors.

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