Amazon is quietly developing vaccines for breast and skin cancer that will be cheaper than current treatments
Amazon is developing cancer vaccines in conjunction with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, based in Seattle.
The project is said to be gearing up to start an FDA-approved clinical trial and in the process of recruiting patients.
The trial would look at the development of personalized vaccines to tackle breast cancer and melanoma skin cancer.
The vaccine could offer a more focused and precise cancer treatment at a lower cost, reports Insider. It may even be a good alternative to chemotherapy which is more generalized.
News of the partnership was first revealed in October on Clinicaltrials.gov which hold an online database of clinical studies being run by the US National Library of Medicine.
The cancer vaccine project came out of Amazon's secretive moonshot lab called Grand Challenge. Those involved on Amazon's cancer research team are said to be a small group of medical doctors together with engineers from health tech.
The study only began last month on June 9 with the trial due to be completed by the start of November 2023.
20 patients are set to take part in the first phase of the trial to test a 'US FDA-regulated Drug Product.'
While Fred Hutchinson is listed as the sponsor of the trial, Amazon is referred to as the 'collaborator' of the study. Both Fred Hutchinson and Amazon have confirmed that they are working on the trial together with the company partnering with other healthcare companies
'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. 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,' Amazon's spokesperson said in an email to Insider.
'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.'
It's the first time that Amazon has worked on its own drug although the company has recently shown a greater interest in healthcare.
The online retailer recently launched an online pharmacy service, primary care business, in-house diagnostics lab and a a fitness-tracking device called Halo. Amazon's CEO Andy Jassy has said the company's venturing into the medical-care field was a top priority and that they could become a 'significant disruptor'.
Although things are moving along, the vaccine would still likely be years away from launching with anything coming to market having to pass through stringent FDA trials that take years to complete. Amazon is also not the only player in the market looking into personalized, DNA-sequencing-based cancer treatment. BioNTech based in Germany is also working on something similar.