MAIA Biotechnology Reveals New Data Showing THIO’s Potent Anticancer Activity in Aggressive Pediatric Brain Cancer

Treatment demonstrates decreased cancer cell proliferation and increased tumor sensitivity to ionizing radiation

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- MAIA Biotechnology, Inc. (NYSE American: MAIA), a clinical stage company developing telomere-targeting immunotherapies for cancer, announced that study data shows THIO’s potent anticancer activity in Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), one of the most aggressive tumors affecting the central nervous system in children.

The data was recently presented at the Society for Neuro-Oncology’s 2023 Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Research Conference and published in the Neuro-Oncology journal (Volume 25, Issue Supplement_1, June 2023, Page i13). The study evaluated THIO as a potential treatment for DIPG based on inducing direct telomeric DNA damage mediated cancer cell death and activating antitumor immunity in DIPG through the intracellular cGAS/STING pathway, which resulted in noticeably increased tumor sensitivity to immune or ionizing radiation therapies.

Radiotherapy is the only standard of care treatment option for DIPG, yet it is rarely curative. In recent years, several immunotherapy strategies have emerged as potential treatments for DIPG. However, the low mutational burden and rare infiltration of T lymphocytes renders these tumors immunologically “cold” and, therefore, poses challenges for general immunotherapy.

“We have shown that THIO treatment sensitized DIPG cells to ionizing radiation (IR), leading to a significant decrease in DIPG cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo models,” said MAIA’s Chief Scientific Officer Sergei Gryaznov, Ph.D. “These encouraging preclinical studies may support further potential preclinical and clinical development of THIO to be used in combination with IR to treat children with high-risk pediatric brain tumors.”

About THIO

THIO (6-thio-dG or 6-thio-2’-deoxyguanosine) is a first-in-class investigational telomere-targeting agent currently in clinical development to evaluate its activity in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Telomeres, along with the enzyme telomerase, play a fundamental role in the survival of cancer cells and their resistance to current therapies. The modified nucleotide 6-thio-2’-deoxyguanosine (THIO) induces telomerase-dependent telomeric DNA modification, DNA damage responses, and selective cancer cell death. THIO-damaged telomeric fragments accumulate in cytosolic micronuclei and activates both innate (cGAS/STING) and adaptive (T-cell) immune responses. The sequential treatment with THIO followed by PD-(L)1 inhibitors resulted in profound and persistent tumor regression in advanced, in vivo cancer models by induction of cancer type–specific immune memory. THIO is presently developed as a second or later line of treatment for NSCLC for patients that have progressed beyond the standard-of-care regimen of existing checkpoint inhibitors.

About MAIA Biotechnology, Inc.

MAIA is a targeted therapy, immuno-oncology company focused on the development and commercialization of potential first-in-class drugs with novel mechanisms of action that are intended to meaningfully improve and extend the lives of people with cancer. Our lead program is THIO, a potential first-in-class cancer telomere targeting agent in clinical development for the treatment of NSCLC patients with telomerase-positive cancer cells. For more information, please visit

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Source: MAIA Biotechnology, Inc.