Can photo-immunotherapy improve outcomes in advanced solid tumors?

The experimental, light-activated therapy known as ASP-1929 is showing promise as a potential new treatment for solid tumors that overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein. These include squamous cell carcinomas of the head, neck or skin (cutaneous). Providence Cancer Institute is one of five centers in the U.S. to offer a new phase I/II study of this first-in-class photo-immunotherapy.

Get the study details here: 

Prior trials of ASP-1929 conducted at Providence and other sites across the U.S. and Japan demonstrated improvements in response rates, progression-free survival and overall survival compared with data on existing treatmentASP-1929 is now approved for recurrent and advanced head and neck cancer in Japan, and has received FDA Fast Track designation in the U.S.  

The treatment involves infusion of ASP-1929 intravenously, which accumulates within tumors that have high levels of EGFR protein such as head, neck and cutaneous malignancies. The infusion is followed by exposure to nonthermal, infrared light to activate the drug. Once activated, it’s expected that the drug will selectively destroy cancer cells with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissues. In this trial, ASP-1929 is given along with an FDA-approved anti-PD-1 antibody, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) or cemiplimab (Libtayo), as these cancer immunotherapies may be more effective when combined with ASP-1929 photo-immunotherapy.  

The study will evaluate the effectiveness and safety of ASP-1929 photo-immunotherapy in combination with anti-PD-1 therapy for the treatment of locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, or locally advanced or metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. 

For more information or to enroll a patient, call our Clinical Research office at 503-215-2614 or submit a referral form. 

More head and neck cancer studies 

Providence Cancer Institute currently has more than 15 studies open for patients with head and neck cancer. See all oral, head and neck cancer studies. 

New research studies are added frequently. Please visit our website to see all studies in all cancer types available at Providence Cancer Institute. 

Providence Head and Neck Cancer Clinic 

The Providence Head and Neck Cancer Program offers world-class care for patients with benign and malignant tumors of the oral cavity (mouth), tongue, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), nose, paranasal sinuses, salivary glands and thyroid gland, as well as tumors at the skull base. Our medical and surgical oncology teams work collaboratively to start patients on treatment regimens very quickly.  

The clinic’s co-directors – medical oncologist Rom Leidner, M.D.and oncologic surgeon R. Bryan Bell, M.D., D.D.S., FACS, FRCS(Ed) – are innovative leaders committed to elevating the current standard-of-care for oncology patients by offering advancements such as pre-operative immunotherapy. Their aim is to improve surgical outcomes and reduce the risk of recurrence.  

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