Improving Pharmacokinetics and Efficacy of DFMO


Executive Summary


For many years, the drug difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) has been shown to display chemopreventive and therapeutic properties with recent successes in the treatment of patients with high-risk neuroblastoma (NB) and colorectal cancer. In a non-cancer setting, this FDA-approved drug cures 95% of patients with West African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis) and is the preferred front line treatment introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO). DFMO has also entered clinical trials for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, in spite of its effectiveness, extremely high oral doses of DFMO are required to achieve a sustained pharmacological effect in humans. While not overly toxic, the gram quantities per day needed to treat patients limits the potential of the drug and lead to substantial therapy costs. MSU researchers have addressed this drawback with a new combination drug therapy which ultimately lowers the required quantities required for the same therapeutic benefit.


Description of Technology


This MSU technology is a method of treatment for ODC- or polyamine-dependent diseases, like cancer, parasitic diseases and Alzheimer’s disease, by pairing DFMO with select FDA-approved additives to improve the retention of DFMO in the blood and extend the life of the drug in patients. As a result, the new combination drug would be far superior to the treatment with DFMO alone because it reduces the need to administer DFMO at very high and frequent doses, while sustaining a constant drug level that is required in neuroblastoma patients, making an effective drug even better.


Key Benefits

  • Minimal side-effect treatment
  • Increased retention of DFMO within body, keeping a constant effective dose in the blood for a longer time
  • Lower dosage amount and frequency taken required
  • Decreased therapy costs



  • Drug treatment regimen for high-risk Neuroblastoma, other ODC-related cancers, West African Sleeping Sickness, Alzheimer’s, and Polyamine Associated Syndrome


Patent Status:


Under review


Licensing Rights Available:


Full licensing rights available




Andre Stephan Bachmann, Thomas C. Dowling


Tech ID:




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Anupam Jhingran
Technology Manager
Michigan State University