2022-07-14| Trials & Approvals

Amazon, Fred Hutchinson Begin Human Trial for Cancer Vaccine

by Joy Lin
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Amazon and Seattle, Washington-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has launched a clinical trial to assess its cancer vaccine in melanoma and breast cancer. Fred Hutchinson will sponsor the FDA-approved Phase 1 trial, in which Amazon is listed as a collaborator, according to a filing

The two are hoping to recruit 20 participants over the age of 18 with late-stage melanoma or hormone receptor positive, HER2- breast cancer that is either metastatic or does not respond to treatment. The trial is expected to be completed in November 2023. 


A Neoantigen Peptide Vaccine Against Cancer


Amazon and Fred Hutchinson’s investigational treatment is a personalized neoantigen peptide vaccine which uses multiple tumor-specific antigens. When given together with an adjuvant, the vaccine may induce multiple lines of T cells to mount an immune response against the patient’s tumor. 

In the trial, patients will receive the immunostimulant poly ICLC intramuscular once weekly in weeks when no vaccine is given. Patients are given the cancer vaccine once every 4 weeks, 2 weeks after starting poly ICLC. They will also receive Opdivo (nivolumab) every 2 or 4 weeks. The treatment regime will continue for 25 weeks, after which patients are followed up at 24, 36, and 48 weeks. 

Related article: Vaccines Against Cancers May Be the Future 


Amazon’s Push Into Healthcare 


Amazon has confirmed the partnership to CNBC, and said it will contribute scientific and machine learning expertise to the collaboration. Its cloud technology platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has been used by the Fred Hutch Microbiome Research Initiative — funded by Fred Hutchinson — to power a high-performance computing platform for microbiome analysis. Other users of the AWS include Moderna, Philips and the UK NHS.

Amazon has been expanding multilaterally in the healthcare industry, with the 2020 launch of an online pharmacy, as well as efforts to promote its telehealth service called Amazon Care. The company has developed a wearable health tracker called the Halo Band that helps users analyze their sleep, activity, nutrition, and more. Furthermore, the company is also looking to develop at-home diagnostic testing for diseases. 

Last year, the company captured attention when its ex-CEO Jeff Bezos was revealed as an investor in Altos Labs, a startup with the grand ambition to make people younger via anti-aging technology.


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