A new approach for recurrent head/neck cancer

March 25, 2019

The light-activated drug ASP-1929 is showing promise as a potential new treatment for people with recurrent head and neck cancers. A new study of this first-in-class, precision targeted therapy is opening soon at Providence Cancer Institute. 

Early trials of ASP-1929 have demonstrated improvements in response rates, progression-free survival and overall survival compared with data on existing treatments. Last year, it received FDA Fast Track designation for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas.

The treatment involves infusion of RM-1929 into the tumor, followed by exposure to red light 24 hours later to activate the drug. RM-1929 delivers an FDA-approved antibody, cetuximab, which targets EGFR receptors – proteins that are highly expressed in squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. Once activated, it’s expected that the antibody will selectively destroy cancer cells with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissues. 

The new study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of ASP-1929 photoimmunotherapy as a monotherapy for the treatment of locoregional, recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in patients who have progressed after at least two lines of therapy. Providence Cancer Institute is the second center in the United States to offer this study. 

Get study details here:

Photoimmunotherapy (PIT) Study in Recurrent Head/Neck Cancer for Patients Who Have Failed at Least Two Lines of Therapy

Read more about earlier trials of ASP-1929 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

More oral, head and neck cancer studies

Providence Cancer Institute currently has five other studies open for patients with head and neck cancers. See all oral, head and neck cancer studies.

To refer patients to any of these studies, call Providence Cancer Institute’s Clinical Research office at 503-215-2614 or visit oregon.providence.org/clinical-trials.

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 oncological surgeon R. Bryan Bell, M.D., D.D.S., FACS – 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.