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Posted: June 16, 2008
2008 Millennium Technology Prize awarded to Professor Robert Langer for intelligent drug delivery
(Nanowerk News) The 2008 Millennium Technology Prize has been awarded to Professor Robert Langer for developing innovative biomaterials for controlled drug release. The world’s largest technology prize is awarded by Technology Academy Finland for a technological innovation that significantly improves quality of human life and promotes sustainable development. President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen handed Professor Langer the prize of EUR 800,000 and ”Peak”, the prize trophy, at the Grand Award Ceremony on Wednesday 11th June in Helsinki.
Professor Robert Langer's innovations have had a significant impact on fighting cancer, heart disease, and numerous other diseases. His work has also brought about significant advances in tissue engineering, including synthetic replacement for biological tissues such as artificial skin. Over 100 million people a year are already using advanced drug delivery systems and this number is rising rapidly. In the future, tissue engineering may revolutionize medical treatment that could affect millions of other individuals. "Tissue engineering holds the promise of creating virtually any new tissue or organ," said Professor Langer.
Known as the father of controlled drug delivery and tissue engineering, Professor Langer has been cited as "one of history's most prolific inventors in medicine". Professor Langer's research laboratory at MIT is the largest biomedical engineering laboratory in the world.
The other 2008 Laureates were each awarded prizes of EUR 115,000 at the Award Ceremony. The DNA fingerprinting technique developed by Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys has revolutionized the field of forensic science and methods of defining family relationships. Dr. Andrew Viterbi’s innovation is the Viterbi algorithm, used to avoid errors in wireless communications systems and devices such as mobile phones. The fourth innovation awarded, the erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) invented by Professor Emmanuel Desurvire, Dr. Randy Giles and Professor David Payne, has vastly increased the transmission capacity of the global optical fibre networks that carry telephone and Internet communications signals.
"It is sufficient to say that each and every one of today’s Laureates has excelled in fulfilling the most important of our requirements: benefit to mankind," said Stig Gustavson, Chairman of Technology Academy Finland.