Robert Langer (US)
US chemical engineer Robert Langer received the award for the ground-breaking invention of biodegradable plastics that encapsulate powerful anti-cancer drugs for a new level of targeted delivery. His bioplastics can be shaped into “wafers” filled with cancer-starving drugs, implanted right above the site of tumours where natural degradation releases the drug for maximum efficacy. Langer’s patented inventions have been licensed to more than 300 pharmaceutical companies and have already benefited more than one million people worldwide. The prolific inventor heads a team of over 100 researchers at MIT.
Speaking via a video link, Robert Langer said he had been told that “the ideas are wrong and would never work”. He said it was a “tremendous honour” to receive the award and be in the company of the other nominees.