Jeff Bezos Collaborates on Cancer Vax Development

The vaccine aims to provide another option to chemotherapy at an “affordable price.”

QUICK FACTS:
  • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is collaborating with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center to produce a vaccine for melanoma and breast cancer.
  • According to an Amazon representative, “[Fred Hutchinson] recently received permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to proceed with a Phase I clinical trial,” where 20 adult patients will be studied.
  • The initiative was first shared in October 2021, with the study lasting June 2022 through November 2023 in Washington state.
  • The study is labeled as a “Personalized Neo-Antigen Peptide Vaccine for the Treatment of Stage IIIC-IV Melanoma or Hormone Receptor Positive Her2 Negative Metastatic Refractory Breast Cancer.”
  • ClinicalTrials.gov, operated by the US National Libraries of Medicine, describes Phase I as a study of the vaccine’s efficacy on breast and skin cancers that have “spread to other places in the body.”
  • The goal of the study is to “provide immunity against the patient’s tumor” by targeting specific antibody responses to metastasized cells.
CLINICAL TRIAL DETAILS:
  • Patients are set to receive the peptide vaccine once every 4 weeks for 25 weeks “in the absence of disease progression.”
  • Another medication, nivolumab, will be distributed “every 2 or 4 weeks for up to 12 months in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.”
  • The primary outcome, according to ClinicalTrials, measures the “incident of adverse effects” up to one-year post-vaccination despite the goal of stabilizing cancer cells.
BACKGROUND:
  • In 2017, Bezos donated $35 million to Fred Hutchinson for the purposes of funding and researching cures for cancer, Hutchinson’s “strategic aim” consisting of collaborating with “world-class talent” to lead cancer studies.
  • The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center opened the Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic also in 2017, serving as a location for cancer trials.
  • Amazon integrated itself into healthcare in 2020 with Amazon Pharmacy, a prescription-fulfillment service for Prime members.
  • The Amazon-Hutchinson trials come after The New England Journal of Medicine published a study on June 5 stating a cancer trial was 100% effective using monoclonal antibodies.