Robert S. Langer (born August 29, 1948 in Albany, New York) is considered the single greatest contributor to medical nanotechnology for his pioneering research and inventions that have provided innovative methods to improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease for countless patients.
Dr. Langer received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his doctoral degree from MIT, both in Chemical Engineering. After that he worked as a post-doc fellow at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Langer is famous for pioneering many new technologies in the field of bioscience, like the controlled release systems and transdermal delivery systems which allow administration and extraction of fluids to and from the body through non-invasive methods.
Dr. Langer’s development in 1976 of principles enabling the use of polymers for the slow delivery of large molecules, such as peptides, has provided the foundation for much of today’s drug-delivery technology. Considered seminal to the field of “controlled release” for treating diseases, Dr. Langer’s work has led to drug-delivery systems providing numerous therapies to over a hundred million patients every year that otherwise would not be possible. Dr. Langer developed the first localized, long-acting chemotherapy treatment for brain cancer providing direct delivery to the tumor. His localized delivery concepts have also been applied to polymer-coated stents for treating cardiovascular disease and eliminating restenosis. Dr. Langer is responsible for creating the field of tissue engineering, helping develop the first approach to creating systems that deliver cells on three-dimensional polymer systems. He also discovered approaches to controlling stem-cell differentiation and stem-cell growth. Thousands of scientists today are creating life-saving tissue-engineered products based on Dr. Langer’s research.
An IEEE member, Dr. Langer is one of a very few individuals elected to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the U.S National Academy of Engineering, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Langer’s many awards include the Charles Stark Draper Award (2002), the Albany Medical Center Prize (2005), the U.S. National Medal of Science (2007), the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011), the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2013), the IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology (2013), and the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (2015). Dr. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.