The Canine Medication That Beat Small Cell Lung Cancer
At 115 pounds, his cancer-ridden body didn’t resemble his former self. With three months to live, hope had all but burned out. But this isn’t a story about losing, or giving in. Rather, this story is about getting up and getting busy living.
Sixty-two-year-old Joe Tippens has been in remission for three years. His journey didn’t take him through the traditional path of chemotherapy or immunotherapy, instead his path included positive thinking and a regimen of canine dewormer pills.
Canine dewormer pills, an anthelmintic, or parasite-killing drugs are not recommended as an anticancer protocol by some of the most sought-after oncologists in the world.
The Weatherford native’s “Get Busy Living” blog went viral globally about a year ago, but he is still sharing his story every day and the stories of others. Through his anecdotal blog, more than 100 success stories of cancer-free patients have been recorded, from bladder to pancreatic cancer, the deadliest of all.
In 2016, the father and new grandfather was told by a local medical group, which will remain unnamed to “protect the guilty,” as Tippens said, that the cancer he had was a tumor the size of his fist in his left lung. For many, this news would instigate hopelessness. For Tippens, he remained unfazed by it.
“Fifty percent of my story is positive thinking, not just chemicals,” Tippens said.
American biologist Bruce Lipton has a series of lectures on YouTube about the power of thinking and its effects on the body, which Tippens recommends.
“When you have positive thoughts, you’re going to send positive signals to your cells and when you have negative thoughts, you’re going to send negative signals to your cells,” Tippens said. “That’s what I believed anyway, literally, when I was told ‘go home and hire hospice.’ It didn’t faze me — I knew I was going to solve the problem.”
The certified public account, who has connections all over the world, ventured to get a second opinion from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, one of the best cancer research centers in the world, where he would spend months enduring chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“That came closer to killing me than the cancer ever did,” Tippens said.
A radiation expert at MD Anderson, which Tippens said he believes will be the next head of the Food and Drug Administration, told him the cancer located in his left lung was gone, however it had spread throughout his entire body.
If small cell lung cancer spreads to vital organs and bones throughout the body, it is deadly, and life-expectancy is 1 percent. Tippens was left with about three months to live.
The next option the MD Anderson doctors had was a clinical trial of immunotherapy, a treatment option that can either activate or suppress the immune system to attack cancer, according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The best-case scenario for Tippens now looked like 12-18 months of life.
“With them telling me that was my best case, that wasn’t the right answer for me,” Tippens said.
Tippens’ older brother Tom said when he was on the immunotherapy drug, Tippens was “literally walking death.”
“He was down to 115-120 pounds — he had no energy, he was just dried out,” Tom said.
Days later, Joe called family friend David Sturgeon, a large animal veterinarian, after reading a post on an Oklahoma State University sports board. Sturgeon informed Tippens about an unnamed scientist at Merck Animal Health who was conducting research on cancerous mice by injecting them with fenbendazole, a canine deworming product line.
The scientist ended up being diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, herself and decided to take the fenbendazole. She cured her cancer six weeks after taking it.
“I decided on the spot, I have nothing to lose, so why not try,” Tippens said.
Tippens, who is the youngest of six siblings, has always had a “no fear attitude,” which runs in the Tippens family, according to Tom. When Joe told his family that he was going to take fenbendazole, Tom said “it didn’t feel like such a crazy idea” to them.
Joe began taking his protocol of Panacur C, the canine dewormer, in mid-January 2017, which he still follows today and will follow for the rest of his life. He also takes vitamin E, CBD oil and curcumin, a supplement that has anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, according to WebMD.
Tippens spent months taking the canine medication, unaware of what was happening to his body.
In May 2017, he went in for a positron emission tomography scan. The results were cancer free.
“So, a PET scan three and a half months earlier [that] lit up like a Christmas tree from head-to-toe was now gone,” Tippens said.
While many were questioning whether it was the fenbendazole or the experimental drug he was on, Tippens is assured he is cancer-free because of the canine pill. Tippens was the only patient out of 1,100 on the immunotherapy clinical trial who had success because he was the only one taking the pill, not known by the specialists.
“I am convinced, and quietly and privately, my oncologist at MD Anderson agrees that it’s not the immunotherapy drug that saved me, it was fenbendazole,” Tippens said.
Tippens’ story cascaded from one person to the next, as news organizations covered his story worldwide. He was answering 20-40 calls a day. That’s when the blog came in 2018.
“I started the blog selfishly, just so I wouldn’t have to tell the story over and over again,” Tippens said. “I never intended for the blog to go viral.”
Tippens said everyone knows someone who has cancer, so that is the main reason why his blog reached millions of people across the U.S. to more than 90 other countries. Just in the last three weeks, Tippens said South Korea has skyrocketed to second behind the U.S. in readership of the blog.
Additionally, the blog has been translated into two Chinese dialects and has been read by 3.5 million viewers in China. The editor-and-chief of the Beijing News called Tippens and told him there are between 30,000 and 40,000 patients in China using his fenbendazole protocol based on the amount of people buying the product after his blog’s translation.
Tippens said he asked the editor-and-chief if he could talk to China’s government about funding a medical review of the Chinese patients who are taking fenbendazole.
“He thought that was a good idea and he was going to run it up the flagpole, but I haven’t heard back from him [and that was about three weeks ago],” Tippens said.
Tippens still answers about 200 emails a day from all over the world and occasional phone calls. While he is not a qualified doctor, Tippens said he is qualified to tell his story, which is not monetized.
“When you get someone calling you saying ‘hey, look, I’m still alive because of you,’ that’s a pretty rewarding phone call,” Tippens said.
Tom said he is most proud of his brother’s “absolute desire to share [his story] with the world.”
“Joe is the right person for the job,” Tom said. “He’s put together with his makeup of dogged determination, his ability to process information, to research information and to collate information and do the things [necessary to] make people feel comfortable [trying the protocol].”
While he is not making any money off his blog or Facebook account with the same name, Tippens said he might have to. As of right now, he has six volunteers moderating his Facebook page for people who do not use it appropriately.
Tippens said he could employ four people and it would not be enough because it is a full-time job. He said he could either monetize his story or shut everything down because “it is too much for [him] to handle [alone].”
Since the blog is completely ‘he said, she said,’ to become more medically legitimized, Tippens began having discussions with local medical groups. One being with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation [OMRF], who has agreed to do a retrospective clinical review of cases where a patient has been taking fenbendazole to treat their cancer. Tippens will then post OMRF’s review on his blog to start a credible audit of cases.
OMRF will review 40 to 50 cases out of 100, which Tippens said he believes will be more than enough to establish the credibility his blog needs to not be ignored or forgotten. Tippens said he wants the project to focus on at least 25 patients where fenbendazole is the only medication they are taking.
Despite being one of the most hopeful men alive, Tippens said he does not believe the U.S. will see a human trial come from fenbendazole because trials are expensive, and no medical group would shell out money for it to have generic competition the next day. Chemotherapy can be millions of dollars, whereas a box of Panacur C starts at $8.
Because the medication is 30 years off patent, anyone can make it, Tippens said. There are different brands of fenbendazole that make the medication in either a pill, paste, liquid or powder form.
Tippens still dreams though. The Rotary International nonprofit organization that cured polio could take on funding a fenbendazole human trial as their next project, Tippens said. He also said he will work on seeing if a trial could take place in another country, such as India.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, one in every 200 Americans are needed for any clinical trial.
Tippens said there are places around the world and in the U.S. in the last two weeks where fenbendazole is getting more difficult to buy because of his blog’s reach.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they come swoop in and take it off the market,” Tippens said.
While he has not received any direct death threats, Tippens said he has been told to watch his back.
“I’m not a paranoid type,” Tippens said. “When you’re told you’ve got three months to live, that should freak you out.”
However, Tippens does believe the U.S. government would benefit to invest in an off-purposed drug like fenbendazole. He has tried to get an unnamed U.S. senator on board, but has been unsuccessful thus far because of the lack of medical credibility.
Tom said because of rules and regulations, the U.S. “is not very adept at making things happen quickly even though there might be a tremendous benefit or utility to the general population.”
At the same time, his brother understands people’s hesitancy.
“I wouldn’t believe this story if I didn’t live it,” Joe said.
Another future impact of fenbendazole would be on third world countries that cannot afford traditional cancer treatment, Tippens said. Call it a lucky coincidence that the person funding the OMRF case reviews is from India.
“His motivation is pretty simple: he doesn’t want to see the poor masses never have access to something like this,” Tippens said.
Research on fenbendazole was being done a decade ago at MD Anderson by three Indian scientists. Even further back, more research has been conducted around anthelmintics.
“In the ‘80s, there was an anthelmintic drug that was approved for colorectal cancer, and then it just kind of disappeared off the planet. I don’t know why,” Tippens said.
Studies in 2013 from the NCBI indicated that mebendazole, another parasite-killing drug in the anthelmintic family, could be repurposed for colorectal cancer therapy.
Tippens said the medical field has known for quite some time that anthelmintics work as anticancer agents. For instance, mebendazole is FDA approved for human consumption. Tippens said since mebendazole is approved by the FDA, and fenbendazole is not, that is where many doctors are going with their research because “they don’t have to do the heavy lifting.”
Mebendazole has been used to treat parasite infections in humans for the last 60 years, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. In 2009, research professor Gregory Riggins and neurosurgeon Gary Gallia found that fenbendazole stopped tumor growth in mice, which led them to believe mebendazole would have the same effect.
Riggins and Gallia obtained a supply of mebendazole from India because a U.S. manufacturing company stopped making it for unknown reasons. The two conducted a clinical trial of 24 patients.
They used the highest dosage of mebendazole they could and found it slowed cancer growth. The scientists believe the drug destroys tumors by hindering tubulin formations, proteins cancer cells need to multiply.
If he thought mebendazole was just as effective as fenbendazole, Tippens said he would tell everyone to switch to it and the problem would be solved.
“Joe is extremely practical in looking at data and trying to keep data as the driver and not be persuaded by maybes, but be persuaded by absolutes,” Tom said. “In his mind, in his heart, he believes anybody [with any cancer] should start on [fenbendazole] immediately.”
Tippens said he does not believe doctors have tried to keep cancer cures away from people, however, the cancer industry is globally enormous and his fenbendazole protocol is not the answer for every disease.
“There’s no such thing as a magic bullet that’s going to cure cancer every time, every kind and every stage,” Tippens said.
The blog documents unsuccessful stories as well. There have been patients who have died after taking fenbendazole. Sometimes cancer still wins because it’s cancer, Tippens said.
Tippens said he thinks a factor in the pill not working is people taking it too late — when they only have three weeks to live.
There are also other alternatives to battling cancer available upon research. Tippens mentioned various cocktails of drugs that include a prescription of mebendazole in them for different diseases.
“There’s other stories out there that are every bit [as] successful as mine,” Tippens said.
Tippens said he believes a clinic in Mexico or Costa Rica could benefit from offering an array of different alternatives to cancer. If he wasn’t a dedicated researcher, Tippens may not have discovered other alternative drugs. Tom said his brother had a “sensational appetite” to delve into research.
“If I ever come out of remission, I know exactly what I’m going to do — I’m going to go to alternative two and then alternative three and then alternative four and maybe all of them at the same time, why not throw everything but the kitchen sink at it,” Tippens said.
While he is unsure where his story will take him next, Tippens said he is sure alternatives will be taken more seriously in the next few years.
“[Joe’s] story is not yet finished,” Tom said.
For more information about the repurposing of anthelmintics, visit http://www.oncm.org/v03p0001.pdf.