Professor Tak W. Mak
- Director, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
- Director, Centre of Oncology and Immunology, InnoHealth, and Department of Pathology, University of Hong Kong
Tak W. Mak is internationally known for his pioneering work on the genetics and molecular biology of cancer and the immune system. His group was the first to clone the gene encoding the human T cell receptor, providing the basis for CAR-T and TCR-T treatments. His team also showed that CTLA4 negatively regulates T cell activation, paving the way for checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy. Most recently, his team established that the brain communicates with the immune system via T and B cells producing acetylcholine.
In the biotech arena, Dr. Mak was the Vice President of Research at Amgen as well as co-founded several companies including Agios Pharmaceuticals and Treadwell Therapeutics. These companiesspecialize in developing first-in-class drugs delineating metabolic and immunological vulnerabilities in tumour cells that can be exploited as novel therapies. Two IDH inhibitors and one drug directed at PKR are now FDA-approved for AML treatment and anemia patients, respectively. At Treadwell, three first-in-class agents targeting aneuploidy and immunotherapy focused on advanced cancers are now in phase II clinical trials .
Dr. Mak has published 1000 peer-reviewed research papers, holds dozens of patents, won numerous scientific and medical awards and is a recipient of a dozen Honorary degrees in Europe, Asia and North America.