A Leading Scientist Studying Precision Medicine Approaches for Leukemia and Lymphoma
Dr. Tak Wah Mak is one of the world’s most cited and accomplished scientists. After earning his PhD, Mak was recruited by the Ontario Cancer Institute (now Princess Margaret Cancer Centre) in Toronto, Canada for a postdoctoral fellowship.
It was at this laboratory, in 1984, that he made the discovery of a lifetime – he identified and cloned the T-cell receptor. This was considered the “holy grail” in immunology, and his discovery has had vast implications in the scientific world. In particular, it unleashed a surge of interest in immune therapy – a rapidly expanding field within cancer medicine.
Last year, LLS awarded Tak a prestigious $5 million Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) grant for a five-year research program, which brings together an international team of researchers across disciplines and institutions. Mak’s research team is studying mutations that cause leukemia and lymphoma to understand how they affect resistance to therapy, which will lead to new and better therapies.
“Acute myeloid leukemia and T-cell lymphoma remain very difficult diseases to treat. This SCOR funding from LLS has catalyzed the formation of an international team focused on improving outcomes for patients with these conditions,” says Tak.
“We have identified a set of mutations that these diseases have in common, and that may confer specific vulnerabilities. This funding will allow experimental biologists to work closely with leading clinician scientists in order to develop approaches that will target these vulnerabilities. Our hope is that this work will lead to greater personalization of therapy, and better outcomes.”