MIT Scientist Langer Wins Major Technology Award

 
 
By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-06-11
 
 
 

HELSINKI (Reuters) - U.S. engineer Robert Langer was on Wednesday named the winner of the 800,000 euro ($1.2 million) Millennium Technology Prize, funded by the Finnish state and industry.

Langer, an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was awarded the prize for his invention and development of innovative biomaterials for controlled drug release and tissue regeneration, the Helsinki-based Millennium Prize Foundation said.

The biennial prize is awarded for a specific and groundbreaking innovation that has a favorable impact on the quality of life and human wellbeing, now and in the future.

"Professor Robert Langer's innovations have had a significant impact in fighting cancer, heart disease and numerous other diseases," the foundation said.

His major focus is the study and development of polymers to deliver drugs, particularly genetically engineered proteins, DNA and RNAi.

"Tissue engineering holds the promise of creating virtually any new tissue or organ," Langer said on Wednesday.

Langer is the third winner of the Millennium Prize, awarded for the first time in 2004 to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web.

Finland hopes the Millennium award will eventually achieve similar recognition and status to the Nobel prize, awarded in Sweden and Norway.

(Reporting by Sami Torma; Editing by Catherine Evans)