Tak Mak, PhD
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network
Tak W. Mak is an international leader in cancer and immunology research. He is best known for his cloning of the human T cell receptor in 1984, which led to the CAR-T therapies now approved for leukemias/lymphomas. His lab also generated numerous genetically modified mouse strains to identify key factors in immune disorders and cancers. His group’s demonstration that CTLA4 negatively regulates T cell activation paved the way for checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy. Most recently, his team showed that T and B cells produce acetylcholine in a manner influencing tumorigenesis and autoimmunity. On the biotech front, Dr. Mak co-founded Agios Pharmaceuticals, which produced two IDH inhibitors that are now FDA-approved for treatment of AML. The Mak team has also developed two novel agents targeting aneuploid cancer cells. These agents have shown promise in phase 2 clinical trials. Dr. Mak has published >950 papers, holds 20 patents, and has received over 35 national and international awards.