Philadelphia--Robert S. Langer, Kenneth J. Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been chosen to deliver the 2001 Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture with a presentation titled "Biomaterials and How They Will Change Our Lives." The lecture, scheduled to take place at the Chemical Heritage Foundation on Thursday, 20 September 2001, will discuss advances in drug delivery that have revolutionized the medical industry. Since joining the MIT faculty in 1977, Langer has specialized in controlled drug delivery and tissue engineering. His discoveries are at the heart of today's multi-billion dollar controlled drug delivery industry and have provided a framework for the emerging technology of tissue engineering. Much of Langer's research has been in biomedical applications of polymers, and his groundbreaking research dispelled the belief that only some sizes of molecules could be delivered slowly.
Langer's later research has led to the development of a number of novel biodegradable polymers with medical applications. One of these resulted in a drug delivery system for the treatment of brain cancer (developed with Dr. Henry Brem of Johns Hopkins University Medical School)-the first FDA-approved treatment for brain cancer in 20 years and the first polymer-based treatment to deliver chemotherapy directly to a tumor site. This treatment has extended the lives of numerous patients and has far fewer side effects than conventional chemotherapy.
Langer has received over eighty major awards. In 1996, he became the only engineer to receive the Gairdner Foundation International Award; fifty-four recipients of this award have subsequently received a Nobel Prize. He received the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize, the world's largest prize for invention, in 1998 for being, "one of history's most prolific inventors in medicine," and
Contact: Scott P. Lockledge
Chemical Heritage Foundation