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Mustang Bio to Study CAR T-Cell, Oncolytic Virus Combination for Recurrent Brain Cancer Patients

NEW ORLEANS – Mustang Bio said on Wednesday that it plans to begin evaluating its investigational cell therapy MB-101 combined with its investigational oncolytic virus MB-108 for previously treated brain cancer patients.

The clinical trial is designed to assess the safety, tolerability, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of the oncolytic virus and cell therapy, administered sequentially, for recurrent glioblastoma patients. Together, the virus and cell therapy make up a regimen that Worcester, Massachusetts-based Mustang has collectively dubbed MB-109.

The rationale behind combining the two treatments is that the C134 oncolytic virus MB-108 can turn the tumor microenvironment immunologically "hot," making the autologous, engineered CAR T cells more active against the cancer. The CAR T cells, which Mustang Bio and City of Hope are also evaluating in several other brain cancer indications, are designed to target IL13Rα2 on the surface of the glioblastoma cells. On their own, MB-101 and MB-108 have respectively both been shown to be well tolerated in this patient population, according to Phase I data presented during the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting this week. Also at AACR, researchers presented preclinical data that supported the sequential regimen.

"We are excited to build on the interim clinical safety and feasibility data for administering either single-agent MB-101 or MB-108, as well as to take advantage of the potential oncolytic viral therapy to make the tumor immunologically 'hot,' since clinical data suggest that CAR T cells may be more effective in an inflamed tumor microenvironment," Christine Brown, deputy director of City of Hope's T Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory, who presented the supporting data during AACR, said in a statement.