The Preparation of Polymeric Prodrug of Disulfiram and its Application



Reference #: 01145

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for a polymeric prodrug that is able to kill a broad-spectrum of cancer cells, including drug resistant cancer cells and cancer stem cells, without damaging normal cells.

Invention Description:

The present invention describes the preparation of a polymeric prodrug of disulfiram combined with copper ions that can effectively kill a broad-spectrum of cancer cells, including drug resistant cancer cells and cancer stem cells, at the nano-molar level.

Potential Applications:

Treatment of various cancers, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular diseases

Advantages and Benefits:

1.    Enhanced efficacy and targeting

2.    Minimal side effects as a result of specific cancer cell selectivity

3.    Longer half-life

4.    Broad-spectrum of anticancer activity, including drug resistant and cancer stem cells


While disulfiram (i.e. DSF or Antabuse) has been used for the treatment of chronic alcoholism for several decades, recent research discovered that disulfiram is able to effectively kill a wide variety of cancer cell concentrations of sub-micromolar levels when combined with copper ions. However, the application of disulfiram is limited due to its extremely low bioavailability, short half-life, as well as side effects, such as headaches, decreased sexual ability in males, skin rashes, and mood changes.  This invention uses a disulfiram nano-prodrug fabricated from polymer to specifically target cancer cells without causing side effects.

Experimental Validation:

The disulfiram polymer prodrug has been synthesized and its therapeutic efficacy has been validated in vitro.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Lacie Cottrill
Technology Associate
University of South Carolina
Peisheng Xu
Huacheng He
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