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Istari Oncology Initiates Its Phase I/II Sub-Study Evaluating PVSRIPO in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer

DURHAM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Istari Oncology, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on novel immunotherapy platforms for the treatment of solid tumors, today announced the company is proceeding with the expansion of its LUMINOS-103 trial, with a new sub-study evaluating PVSRIPO in adult patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). LUMINOS-103 is a Phase I/II, open-label, multi-center, single-arm basket trial evaluating the administration of PVSRIPO with or without PD-1/L1 inhibitors across multiple tumor types. The company began the LUMINOS-103 basket trial earlier this year, opening recruitment to patients with bladder cancer in two separate cohorts.

Istari Oncology’s PVSRIPO is a novel intratumoral viral immunotherapy that activates a patient’s innate and adaptive immune system to facilitate a systemic anti-tumor immune response. PVSRIPO enters solid tumor cells and antigen presenting cells (APCs) in the tumor microenvironment via CD155 (the poliovirus receptor). CD155 is expressed on nearly all solid tumors, giving PVSRIPO the potential to treat a variety of cancers.

“We enter this next phase of PVSRIPO development in patients with solid tumors with great enthusiasm as we progress toward further evaluating the impact of PVSRIPO on patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma,” said Matt Stober, president and chief executive officer at Istari Oncology. “With patient recruitment underway for our LUMINOS-103 bladder cancer cohorts, and the expectation that future cohorts focusing on other solid tumors will be added in the near future, we are proud to broaden the PVSRIPO clinical development program.”

HNSCC is a heterogeneous group of malignant tumors typically caused by alcohol and tobacco consumption, although an increasing number of HNSCC cases arise due to persistent infection with high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV). The treatment of HNSCC remains challenging, and a substantial proportion of patients with this condition die from their disease, especially those with recurrent and metastatic disease.1

“This year more than 66,000 people in the U.S. – approximately 49,000 men and 18,000 women – will develop head and neck cancer,” said Amanda Hollinger, MPA, executive director, Head & Neck Cancer Alliance. “As we continue to focus on advancing prevention, detection, treatment, and rehabilitation of people with head and neck cancer, we will be closely watching the progress of Istari’s head and neck sub-study with great anticipation and optimism.”

For more information about Istari Oncology and its ongoing clinical trials and research on PVSRIPO, visit


PVSRIPO is an investigational immunotherapy based on the live attenuated Sabin type 1 polio vaccine that has been genetically modified for safety. PVSRIPO has a distinct target (the poliovirus receptor CD155), which is widely expressed in neoplastic cells of most solid tumors. Via CD155, PVSRIPO targets tumors with three key mechanisms: 1) engagement and activation of antigen presenting cells (APCs), leading to T cell priming and sustained, systemic anticancer immunity; 2) direct tumor cell killing and antigen release; and 3) amplification of the immune response via recall of polio vaccine-specific T cells. PVSRIPO has been granted Breakthrough Therapy and Orphan Drug Designation status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in recurrent glioblastoma, and Fast Track and Orphan Drug Designation status in refractory melanoma.

About Istari Oncology

Istari Oncology, Inc., headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is a privately held clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on novel immuno-oncology and immunotherapy platforms for the treatment of glioblastoma and a wide variety of solid tumors. Istari has licensed a broad range of patents and patent applications and has access to additional intellectual property to continue clinical and commercial development of these technologies. The company’s primary asset currently in clinical development is PVSRIPO. For more information, please visit:

1 HNSCC: Tumour Antigens and Their Targeting by Immunotherapy. Cells. Accessed July 30, 2021.


Media Contact:
Istari Oncology
JP Wallace
(619) 200-7856

Investor Contact:
Stern Investor Relations
Christina Tartaglia
(212) 362-1200

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Last Updated: 17-Aug-2021