July 13, 2022 – Amazon is working with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to develop cancer vaccines in a new clinical trial.
The trial is aimed at finding “personalized vaccines” to treat breast cancer and melanoma, a form of skin cancer. The phase I trial is recruiting 20 people over age 18 to study the safety of the vaccines, according to CNBC.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington Cancer Consortium are listed as the researchers of the clinical trial, and Amazon is listed as a collaborator, according to a filing on the ClinicalTrials.gov database.
“Amazon is contributing scientific and machine learning expertise to a partnership with Fred Hutch to explore the development of a personalized treatment for certain forms of cancer,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC.
“It’s very early, but Fred Hutch recently received permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed with a Phase I clinical trial, and it’s unclear whether it will be successful,” the spokesperson said. “This will be a long, multi-year process – should it progress, we would be open to working with other organizations in health care and life sciences that might also be interested in similar efforts.”
In recent years, Amazon has grown its presence in the health care industry, CNBC reported. The company launched an online pharmacy in 2020, developed a telehealth service called Amazon Care, and released its own COVID-19 test during the pandemic.
A research and development group inside Amazon, known as Grand Challenge, oversaw the company’s early cancer vaccine effort, according to Business Insider. It’s now under the purview of a cancer research team that reports to Robert Williams, the company’s vice president of devices.
The study was first posted on ClinicalTrials.gov in October 2021 and began recruiting patients on June 9, according to the filing. The phase I trial is expected to run through November 2023.
The phase I trial will study the safety of personalized vaccines to treat patients with late-stage melanoma or hormone receptor-positive HER2-negative breast cancer, which has either spread to other parts of the body or doesn’t respond to treatment.
More information about the study can be found on ClinicalTrials.gov under the identifier NCT05098210.