Robert S. Langer ScD

Recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award, 1996
"For discoveries that led to the development of controlled drug release systems."

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Dr. Langer is the Kenneth J. Germeshausen Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The strength of his curriculum vitae is best illustrated by the fact that he has been elected to membership in all three academies - Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Science.

There is general agreement that Dr. Langer pioneered the field of controlled drug release delivery systems (slow release oral systems, transdermal patches, injectable microspheres, and slow release implants). These delivery systems involve macromolecules that have been incorporated into solid polymers from which they are released at controlled rates. This development has revolutionized medical therapy, permitted new therapies for patients, and by reducing the dose administered, has avoided complications and reduced costs. Examples of current drug applications include nitroglycerin, nicotine, cancer chemotheraputics, hormones and vaccines. In subsequent work, he determined the mechanism of release of drugs from polymers and then identified the factors that could be used to control the rate of release.