Cancer is a disease that affects millions of people worldwide, and it is a leading cause of death. One in four deaths in the United States is caused by cancer.
There have been several discoveries and advancements in cancer treatment in recent years. Some of these include immunotherapy, gene therapy, and chemotherapy. Source There is also another form of treatment called oncolytic virotherapy (OV). OV uses viruses or bacteria that only infect cancer cells, and these viruses can be used to kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells around them.
One such example is a well-known anthelminthic drug called Niclosamide (NCZ). This drug has been used for decades as an anti-parasitic agent for treating intestinal worms in humans and animals. Still, more recently, it has been found to have some promising effects on cancer treatment as well.
What are some of the promising results of anthelmintic in cancer treatment?
Several studies have shown the effectiveness of anthelminthic drugs in cancer treatment. The outcome of these studies showed promising results. These include:
Enhance Immune System
It is a fact that these drugs help to restore the immune system. The immune system plays an essential role in defending our body against harmful microbes, including cancer cells. When your immune system is damaged for specific reasons, it becomes challenging for your body to fight against various diseases, including cancer cells. Anthelminthic drugs have been proven to boost your immune system by removing antigens from your body. Hence, they help us fight against various diseases, including cancerous growths in our bodies.
Additionally, anthelminthic drugs can enhance the functioning of our immune system by removing toxins from our body through its multiple mechanisms of action (MOA). These MOAs include increasing white blood cell count levels in our bloodstream and increasing their activity level on our body’s surface by stimulating them with different stimuli such as heat and cold.
Alleviate Cancer Symptoms
The most common cancer symptom is the abnormal growth of cells in body areas. Anthelminthic drugs can help treat this symptom by killing parasitic worms living inside the human body. These parasitic worms are known as helminths and include hookworms, whipworms, flukes, tapeworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. Some types of helminths have been found to cause cancer when they invade the body through contaminated food and water sources. Cancer patients suffer from fatigue, nausea, pain, and difficulty swallowing, which can be relieved with anthelmintics drugs like Albendazole and Mebendazole. These drugs also help to reduce swelling in lymph nodes and other organs.
Improve Quality of Life
Anthelminthic drugs have been shown to improve the quality of life in cancer patients. Source These drugs have been used to treat intestinal worms and other intestinal parasites, and they have also been used to treat cancer patients who suffer from severe diarrhea caused by the treatment of their cancer. Anthelminthic drugs have also shown to improve the symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and weight loss due to chemotherapy or radiation therapy in some patients with colorectal cancer.
Enhancement of Cancer Drug Cytotoxicity
Cancer cells have high proliferative rates; consequently, they require high nutrients such as glucose and glutamine. These nutrients are supplied by increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation produced by mitochondria or NADPH oxidase enzymes in tumor cells. These ROS activate cytochrome P450 enzymes which convert procarcinogens into carcinogenic agents. In addition, tumor cells have proteases that can degrade anti-cancer drugs, making them less effective. These factors make it difficult for conventional chemotherapy agents to kill cancer cells; however, they can be more effective when combined with anthelminthic drugs, as shown in vitro studies.
Enhance Anti-Tumor Activity of Cancer Drugs
Different kinds of anthelminthic drugs have been used to treat cancer patients with excellent results. For example, albendazole has been used to treat colon cancer, Mebendazole for esophageal cancer, praziquantel for liver cancer, etc. The effectiveness of these drugs shows that they are effective in eliminating parasites from the body and effective in treating cancers.
Reduce Side Effects
The use of anthelmintics in cancer treatment is a promising approach to reducing the side effects typically associated with chemotherapy. The primary goal of chemotherapy is to kill cancer cells by disrupting their DNA replication process, which requires them to overgrow and divide rapidly. Cancer cells generally have multiple copies of dividing genes (such as those encoding ribosomal RNA). Therefore they are more sensitive to cell cycle arrest induced by anthelmintic compounds than normal cells. Anthelmintic drugs could be combined with anticancer drugs to improve treatment outcomes against hematologic malignancies (HMs).
Help reduce the risk of infections during chemotherapy
Some studies have found that using anthelminthic drugs can help reduce the risk of infection during chemotherapy. This is important because many people undergoing chemotherapy will be at increased risk for infection due to their suppressed immune system. Anthelminthic drugs can help protect against these infections, allowing those receiving chemotherapy to get the most out of their treatment.
Increase Survival Rate
Anthelminthic drugs have been shown to increase survival rates for patients with various types of cancers when combined with conventional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These drugs help kill any remaining cancer cells that may remain after conventional treatments have been completed, so patients can continue living without the fear of relapse or recurrence later on down the road.
Accelerate the recovery process of patients with cancer
Antihelminthic drugs accelerate the healing process of people who have cancer. They help fight infections and boost immunity in patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy
Anthelminthic drugs enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy by killing parasites and worms in the body and boosting immune system function at a cellular level. Source They also reduce inflammation and swelling caused by cancer cells, resulting in reduced pain and discomfort brought about by chemotherapy.
Slow down tumor growth and prevent metastasis
Anthelminthic drugs may also slow down tumor growth and prevent metastasis. In one study published in Cancer Research, researchers found that giving mice the anthelmintic drug praziquantel before they were injected with cancer cells, they found that it slowed down tumor growth and prevented metastasis.
Have no harm to normal cells but only target cancer cells
Anthelminthic drugs work by inhibiting the enzyme HSP90 required to survive cancer cells. Due to this inhibition, cancer cells lose their ability to grow and multiply. So, anthelminthic drugs help kill off cancer cells without harming healthy cells in the body.