Amazon, research center partner on cancer vaccine



Amazon will collaborate with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle on a Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial for a cancer vaccine.

According to a filing with the National Institutes of Health, Fred Hutch is testing a “personalized” vaccine for patients with late-stage melanoma skin cancer and certain breast cancers that have spread throughout the body or are not responding to other treatment.

Fred Hutch is listed as the trial’s sponsor, and Amazon as the sole collaborator. The duo set a recruitment target of 20 participants above 18 years of age with skin and breast cancers for its phase one trial. 

The trial will dole out a 25-week regimen of the vaccines, absent any complications, and offer follow-ups over the next 12 months.

The first participant enrolled on June 9, and the study is expected to be completed by Nov. 1, 2023. 

A lab at Fred Hutch previously developed the vaccine against human papillomavirus that protects against cervical cancer, and the center has been active in work with therapeutic cancer vaccines that encourage the body to attack its own tumors.

Amazon is providing “scientific and machine learning expertise” to the latest Fred Hutch endeavor, a company spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. The vaccine is in early stages, and “it’s unclear whether it will be successful.”

The project will be a multiyear 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,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Fred Hutch confirmed the partnership with Amazon but declined further comment.

The online retail giant has been pushing swiftly into the health care industry since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In late 2020, Amazon  unveiled an app to help facilitate virtual medical care and opened an online pharmacy. It also opened in-person medical facilities in 20 cities in late 2021. 

In early 2022, the virtual service Amazon Care expanded and the company partnered with Teladoc Health to give its voice-activated service Alexa new health care capabilities.

Updated 3:34 p.m.

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