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Koch Institute

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Robert Langer
Robert Langer
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Robert Langer Profile

Biotechnologist and Entrepreneur

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  Robert Langer

Robert S. Langer is heralded as one of the most prolific inventors in the history of medicine, as well as the father of controlled drug release and tissue engineering. As a young researcher confronted with the problem of accurate drug delivery, he reversed the usual process of working with existing materials, and custom-designed new polymers (plastics) to release medication at a desired rate. His discoveries have saved countless lives and helped launch a $100 billion-a-year industry that includes products ranging from the nicotine patch to coated cardiovascular stents. His inventions include dime-size implantable wafers for the treatment of cancer, drug release systems operated by remote control, and an implantable "pharmacy on a chip," that releases precise quantities of drugs on a programmable schedule.

Langer pioneered the new field of tissue engineering by growing transplantable tissue in vitro on biodegradable plastic scaffolding. Skin grown using Langer's principles has been approved by the FDA, cartilage is in clinical trials, and his engineered spinal tissue has been successfully transplanted in laboratory animals. Every year, thoudsands of Americans die awaiting transplants of organs like the liver, heart and lung, but Robert Langer is creating a future where spare organs can be grown in the laboratory.

Dr. Langer has received the highest professional honors for his work, including the Charles Stark Draper Prize, the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Priestley Medal, the Wolf Prize, the £1 million Queen Elizabeth Prize, and the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. In addition to his endowed chair at MIT, he is a faculty member of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. His research laboratory at MIT is the largest academic biomedical engineering lab in the world, maintaining about $10 million in annual grants and over 100 researchers.

This page last revised on Feb 03, 2015 18:45 EDT
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