ABSTRACT: Advanced drug delivery systems have an enormous impact on human health. Langer will start by discussing his early research on developing the first controlled release systems for macromolecules and the isolation of angiogenesis inhibitors and how these led to numerous new therapies. This early research then led to new drug delivery technologies including nanoparticles and nanotechnology that are now being studied for use in treating cancer, and other illnesses and in vaccine delivery (including the Covid-19 vaccine). Finally, by combining mammalian cells, including stem cells, with synthetic polymers, new approaches for engineering tissues are being developed that may someday help in various diseases. Examples in the areas of cartilage, skin, blood vessels and heart tissue are discussed.
BIO: Robert Langer is one of 12 institute professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); being an institute professor is the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member. He has written over 1,500 articles, which have been cited over 372,000 times; his h-index of 303 is the highest of any engineer in history and the 3rd highest of any individual in any field. His patents have been licensed or sublicensed to over 400 companies; he is a co-founder of a number of companies including Moderna. Dr. Langer served as chairman of the FDA’s Science Board (its highest advisory board) from 1999-2002. His over 220 awards include both the United States National Medal of Science and the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation (he is one of 3 living individuals to have received both these honors), the Charles Stark Draper Prize (often called the Engineering Nobel Prize), Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Albany Medical Center Prize, Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Kyoto Prize, Wolf Prize for Chemistry, Millennium Technology Prize, Priestley Medal (highest award of the American Chemical Society), Gairdner Prize, Hoover Medal, Dreyfus Prize in Chemical Sciences, BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biomedicine, and the Balzan Prize for Biomaterials for Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering. He holds 40 honorary doctorates, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Northwestern, and has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors.