The 2021 Szent-Györgyi Prize was awarded to Tak W. Mak, Ph.D., alongside Mark M. Davis, Ph.D., for their breakthrough discoveries of the structure of T-cell receptor (TCR) and pioneering research in deciphering the mechanisms of T-cell recognition and development.
These discoveries have formed a critical part of contemporary immuno-oncology and the molecular foundation for life-saving CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapies, a novel T-cell-based immunotherapy approach approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of several types of blood cancer.
Both Mak and Davis are continuing to make research progress. They are also collaborating to develop novel approaches for designing and producing TCRs that are highly specific in recognizing the neoantigens mainly appearing on the tumor cells of non-blood cancers. Their research efforts will bring increased clinical benefits to blood cancer patients and patients with solid tumors.