Dr. Tak Mak was there. So was former U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and former CBS News Anchor Katie Couric. As was Sean Parker, the Co-Founder of Napster and the former President of Facebook.

This eclectic mix of people was at the Vatican in April 2016 to take part in an international conference on regenerative medicine.

For Dr. Mak, the invite came from Dr. Ronald DePinho, the former President and CEO of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, who was “putting together a small group of people to discuss immunotherapy at the Vatican.”

That’s how Dr. Mak ended up on the same stage as Couric, who moderated a panel discussion involving him and three other cancer immunotherapy experts.

While Dr. Mak was initially surprised by the invitation, he wasn’t surprised that immunotherapy was something of interest to the Vatican and such a wide range of individuals.

“Immunotherapy has the capacity to become a pillar in cancer therapy,” Dr. Mak says, underscoring its growing importance in the field of cancer treatment.

Dr. Tak Mak, Senior Scientist

Dr. Tak Mak is one of The Princess Margaret’s most renowned scientists and one of the most cited medical researchers in the world.

Dr. Mak joined the Ontario Cancer Institute, now part of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, as a post-doctoral fellow in the ‘70s. He was mentored by Dr. James Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch – the celebrated Canadian scientists who proved the existence of stem cells.

Dr. Mak’s cloning of the T-cell receptor more than three decades ago helped advance the field of immunology and had major implications for the still-emerging world of immunotherapy.

Today, Dr. Mak serves as the Director of The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at The Princess Margaret. Some of his recent work has involved unique research on so-called sharpshooter drugs that slows down the growth of a number of types of cancer.

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