Amazon Collaborates in the Development of Cancer VaccinesBy Sofía Garduño | Thu, 07/14/2022 - 17:26
Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington have been authorized a clinical trial to develop personalized vaccines to treat breast cancer and melanoma. Amazon partnered with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and is providing its machine learning expertise to the trial.
"It is very early, but Fred Hutch recently received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to proceed with a Phase I clinical trial, and it is unclear whether it will be successful. This will be a long, multi-year process, should it progress, we would be open to working with other organizations in healthcare and life sciences that might also be interested in similar efforts,” said an Amazon spokesperson, as reported by CNBC.
For the Phase I of the trial, Amazon aims to recruit 20 participants over 18 years old. The study is expected to be completed by Nov. 1, 2023, according to Becker’s hospital review.
Cancer Treatment Vaccines
Cancer treatment vaccines do not prevent cancer but are used to fight it. These vaccines can be made from tumor cells, dendritic cells or tumor-associated antigens found on cancer cells, as reported by NIH. The latter are still in experimental stages.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific community drew more attention to the possibility of using mRNA vaccines to treat cancer. Some clinical trials are currently testing mRNA vaccines in patients suffering from different types of cancer such as pancreatic, colorectal and melanoma, according to NIH. “The global use of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines has demonstrated the safety of this approach and will open doors for cancer vaccines,” said Karine Breckpot, Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium
Aside from cancer treatment vaccines, the scientific community is committed to keep working towards progress on cancer treatment. Recently, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center conducted a trial with 14 cancer patients that had a 100 percent success rate. Patients were cancer free after six months of treatment with immunotherapy medication Dostarlimab. However, only a small percentage of patients qualify for this treatment, as reported by Fox59.
Disparities in Treatment Accessibility
Despite the commitment from many UN members to reduce premature mortality from cancer, less than 10 percent of these countries have progressed toward the achievement of related goals. While over 90 percent of high-income countries provide comprehensive cancer treatment, less than 15 percent of low-income countries offer these services. The COVID-19 pandemic further increased inequalities in cancer care. Owing to this, it is expected that the burden of cancer in low and middle-income countries will double by 2040, as reported by MBN.