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New Treatment for Central Nervous System Tumors, Such As Glioblastoma, Enters Phase I Clinical Trials; Peptide Immune Checkpoint Ligand from OX2 Therapeutics Is First-of-Its Kind Cancer Treatment

On January 12, 2021, OX2 Therapeutics, Inc. (, a privately held Minneapolis company, announced that it had treated its first patient in a phase one human trial of a new treatment developed to combat recurrent high-grade brain tumors. “This is a first-of-its kind immunotherapy that works to treat one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers today,” said Christopher Moertel, MD, OX2 Therapeutics, Inc. “Central nervous system cancers are the number one cause of cancer-related mortality in children, and a major cause of morbidity and mortality in adults.” OX2 Therapeutics developed the first immune checkpoint peptide platform targeting the immune system to attack solid tumors. Focusing on high-grade gliomas, OX2 Therapeutics has been treating dogs diagnosed with spontaneous high-grade glioma in a canine clinical trial at the University of Minnesota, Veterinary Hospital. “This is the first therapy Dr. Olin and I have used to significantly extend the life of dogs with high-grade gliomas with no adverse events,” said G. Elisabeth Pluhar, DVM, PhD, Director of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine’s Canine Brain Tumor Program ( The OX2 peptide, known as CD200AR-L, is a single peptide that has the potential to replace the toxic antibody therapies that are currently used to block immune checkpoints,” stated Michael Olin (photo), PhD, OX2 Therapeutics, Inc. “CD200AR-L provides a one-two punch in the fight against cancer through the activation of the immune system while simultaneously protecting it against tumor-induced suppression, allowing the immune system to both reach the cancer cells and then fight them.” The FDA approved the treatment for an adult phase one human trial in June 2020. OX2 Therapeutics treated its first patient on January 6, 2021 in a phase one, single center, open-label, dose-escalation clinical trial for recurrent glioblastoma under the direction of Elizabeth Neil, MD at the University of Minnesota. This adult trial will be followed by a pediatric trial for recurrent malignant brain tumors based on the treatment’s safety and pharmacokinetic profile. This planned pediatric trial will be led by Emily Greengard, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School. The phase one human trial of this potentially groundbreaking treatment is an important milestone for OX2 Therapeutics and the Brain Tumor Program at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. To learn more about OX2 Therapeutics, Inc., please visit


OX2 Therapeutics, Inc., is a clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical company developing new therapies to turn cancers into manageable and potentially curable diseases. OX2 Therapeutics was founded in 2016 by Michael Olin, PhD, Associate Professor, Christopher Moertel, MD, Professor, both in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, in the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, and Sumant Dhawan, VP Operations. Jeff Liter, OX2’s CEO/CFO, joined in 2017. The scientific advisory committee includes G. Elizabeth Pluhar, DVM, PhD, Thomas Molitor, PhD, and Yuk Sham, PhD.

[OX2 news release] [OX2 Therapeutics]