Cancer outstrips heart disease as the leading cause of death in Canada. Malignancies are caused by genetic mutations that allow cancer cells to grow uncontrollably. Dr. Tak Maks laboratory uses unique strains of mutant mice to unravel the molecular signaling pathways that underlie this ability. Identifying molecules in these pathways permits the design of novel therapeutics that can inhibit them. Dr. Mak proposes to determine why mutations of the metabolic enzyme isocitrate dehydrogenase cause leukemias and brain cancers, and will investigate if certain drug candidates that inhibit this enzyme are effective in slowing the growth of these cancers in mice.