Robert S. Langer

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Langer wins Kyoto Prize, Biotechnology Heritage Award

On June 20, the Inamori Foundation in Japan announced that Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor, won the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology in the Biotechnology and Medical Technology field. The Kyoto Prize is presented annually to those who have made significant contributions to the “scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind.” Langer was specifically recognized as an interdisciplinary pioneer in the fields of medicine and engineering. He will receive his prize in Kyoto on Nov. 10. more...

SOLUTIONS with/in/sight: Bridging the Gap in Pancreatic Cancer (Dr. Robert Langer)

Dr. Robert Langer presents at SOLUTIONS with/in/sight: Bridging the Gap in Pancreatic Cancer on May 29, 2014 watch...

Expanding the Playing Field for RNA Interference

RNA interference (RNAi), a process that turns off specific genes inside cells, holds great potential for treating diseases caused by malfunctioning genes, and has shown particular success targeting genes within the liver. However, the safe and effective delivery of gene-blocking RNA to tissues beyond the liver has proved challenging. In a recent study published in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers led by KI members Daniel Anderson, the Samuel A. Goldblith Professor of Applied Biology, and Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor, reported the most successful RNAi-mediated gene silencing in non-liver tissues to date. The engineers encased short strands of RNA, called siRNA, within newly designed nanoparticles optimized to target endothelial cells, which line most organs, and they showed successful delivery of RNA to the kidneys and heart, among other organs. They also used lower doses of RNA than previous treatments, increasing the therapy’s safety and efficiency.

These results open the door to achieving the broad potential of RNAi therapeutics, silencing disease-causing genes in many parts of the body to treat many types of disease, including cancer. more...

Anderson and Langer’s Nature-mimicking Nanoparticles

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and featured in The Boston Globe describes the work of KI faculty members Daniel Anderson, the Samuel A. Goldblith Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor, in designing new nanoparticles that efficiently and selectively deliver snippets of genetic material that turn off disease-causing genes (an approach known as RNA interference) in the liver. These nanoparticles, which are inspired by tiny particles that carry cholesterol through the body, silence target genes in the liver more efficiently than any previous delivery system. The technology has already been licensed for commercial development and holds great promise to treat cancer by selectively blocking mutated cancer-causing genes.  more...

Langer Receives Breakthrough Prize

David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer has been awarded the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, for his revolutionary work on the development of technologies for the controlled release of drugs and of other materials for biomedical applications.The prize, now in its second year, recognizes excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life. Koch Institute members Robert Weinberg and Eric Lander each received one of the inaugural prizes in 2013. more...

Langer Develops Nanoparticle Pills

Tiny particles engineered to carry specific drugs can act as targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases, but previously could only be administered in the clinic via injection. Now, researchers from the laboratory of David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer and a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which includes Harvard Medical School Professor Omid Farokhzad, have developed nanoparticles that can be taken as a pill, a more preferable method of treatment for most patients.

In a study published in Science Translational Medicine and featured in the Wall Street Journal, the team showed the successful delivery of orally administered nanoparticles carrying insulin in mice. This type of drug delivery could be useful for developing new treatments for many conditions including cancer, and the researchers are working on optimizing drug release from the nanoparticles for further animal tests. They also hope to apply the same principles that helped these nanoparticles permeate the intestine to designing ones that can cross other barriers, such as the blood-brain barrier, which prevents many drugs from reaching the brain. more...

KI's Robert Langer and BIND Therapeutics Win RUSNANOPRIZE2013

The first human clinical trials of targeted polymeric nanoparticles for cancer treatment are currently underway, featuring nanoparticles developed in part at MIT in the laboratory of the Koch Institute's Bob Langer. Designed to carry the chemotherapy drug docetaxel - which is used to treat lung, prostate and breast cancers, among others – the nanoparticles recently entered Phase II human clinical trials.

For this work, Professor Langer and colleague, Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Omid Farokhzad, a former trainee of Langer's, were recently awarded the 2013 RUSNANOPRIZE for "the development and industrialization of nanoparticle technologies for medical applications."  The award also recognized BIND Therapeutics, cofounded by Langer and Farokhzad, for the implementation of the winning research. Established in 2009 by the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO) and the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, the three million ruble ($94,000) prize recognizes leading scientific developments in nanotechnology that have been applied in industrial production and proven their practical significance. more...

KI Team Deciphers Mechanisms of Nanoparticle-Mediated RNA Interference 

A new study published in Nature Biotechnology and led by KI faculty member Dan Anderson in collaboration with Robert Langer will help scientists design more efficient nanoparticles to shut down malfunctioning genes in cancer.  The work provides, for the first time, insights into how nanoparticles carrying short RNA strands are processed inside the cell and how the delivery of their payloads could be improved. Among the team's findings was the identification of a protein that helps cells excrete the particles faster. With the protein knocked out, the particles achieved a level of gene silencing 10 to 15 times greater than in normal cells. The team is now looking for other targets to slow cellular 'recycling' of the nanoparticles and potentially improve potency. Gaurav Sahay, postdoc in the Langer lab, is the first author of this work. more...

Manipulating Cells May Improve Monitoring

MIT engineers, including Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, successfully found a new way to move materials through cell membranes by squeezing through a narrow constriction that opens tiny temporary holes. That allows proteins, DNA, and nanoparticles to enter the cells that could be used for many applications. The scientists see a potential for improved imaging,  reprogramming proteins, and generating pluripotent stem cells. more...

Prestigious Wolf Prize Awarded to KI Member

Koch Institute Professor Bob Langer was awarded the prestigious 2013 Wolf Prize. The Israeli-based Wolf Foundation honors Langer for his contributions to chemistry.  Wolf winners are considered strong candidates to receive the Nobel Prize. more...

National Medal of Technology and Innovation Awarded to KI Member

Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor, is one of eleven innovators to receive the award this year. Dr. Langer has received over 210 major awards to date, including the United States National Medal of Science in 2006. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and have helped strengthen the nation’s technological workforce. more...

Hatching Ideas, and Companies, by the Dozens at MIT

The New York Times reports that KI member Robert Langer’s innovative ideas and discoveries have resulted in treatments and therapeutic devices to help a wide range of diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and schizophrenia. Dr. Langer and his lab, which typically includes about 60 postdoctoral and graduate students at any given time, have managed to successfully navigate the intersection of academic research with the world of industry, as demonstrated by 25 start-up companies and 811 patents. more...

Dynamic Microstructures Help Recreate Tumor Microenvironments

KI member Robert Langer is a senior author of a paper appearing this month in Advanced Materials, profiling MIT researchers' new technique controlling spatial distribution of multiple cell types using tiny shapes made from a temperature sensitive polymer. Among their many applications the microstructures can be used to replicate tumor microenvironments, helping scientists understand complex associations like cell signaling and interactions between cell types, as well as advancing drug discovery. more...

Technology Workshop: Robert Langer

September 20, 2012 Drug Delivery
Robert Langer, Koch Institute watch...

Team Uses Ultrasound to Boost Transdermal Drug Delivery

KI member Robert Langer is part of a team of MIT researchers that has combined two different frequencies of ultrasound waves to make the skin more permeable to therapeutics. The technology could pave the way for noninvasive drug delivery or needle-free vaccinations, and may enhance the effectiveness of transdermal patches already in use, like nicotine patches. more...

Electronic Sensors Enable New Tissue Scaffolds in Drug and Device Development

The sensors, made of silicon nanowires, were recently added to a new tissue scaffold and could be used to monitor electrical activity in surrounding tissue, control drug release or screen drug candidates. Using engineered cardiac tissue, a team of researchers from MIT, Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital was able to monitor cells' response to stimulants. The group's findings appear August 26 in Nature Materials. more...

Langer Honored by SCI

KI Institute Professor Robert Langer will receive the 2012 Society of Chemical Industry Perkin Medal in September, for his achievements in chemical engineering. He is widely recognized as a leading innovator in biomedical engineering, biopolymers and tissue engineering. more...

Targeted Nanoparticles Deliver Antibiotics Directly  to Bacteria

KI researchers, together with physicians from Brigham and Women's Hospital, have engineered a nanoparticle that evades the immune system to fight bacteria.  They created the new nanoparticles from a polymer, originally developed under a CCNE grant for use in cancer treatment, capped with polyethylene glycol (PEG), which is commonly used for drug delivery because it is nontoxic and can help nanoparticles travel through the bloodstream by avoiding detection by the immune system. The well-designed vehicles deliver powerful doses of existing antibiotics and may have great potential for treating infectious diseases. This research recently appeared in the journal ACS Nano. more...

Cancer Drug Therapy Direct to Tumor

KI researchers devised new nanoparticles that, triggered by UV light, can synthesize proteins to fight cancer cells once they reach the tumor site. The proteins battle the cancer cells while avoiding healthy cells, reducing side effects of treatment. The research appears in the journal NanoLetters. more...

Targeted Drug Delivery Successful in Early Clinical Trials

KI researchers, along with scientists from BIND Biosciences and Brigham and Women's Hospital, have shrunk cancer tumors using targeted drug delivery nanoparticles that specifically attack cancer cells while avoiding the immune system. In this first human test, side effects were minimal and results achieved even in patients receiving substantially lower dosage than in typical chemotherapy treatment. The study appears in the April 4, 2012 edition of Science Translational Medicine. more...

KI Researchers' Implantable Device Succeeds in Clinical Trial

A drug delivery device implanted in patients proved first successful results of released drug delivery that could usher in new era of telemedicine. Along with scientists from MICROCHIPS, two David Koch professors report their findings in February 16th issue of Science Translational Medicine. more...

RNA Interference Inhibits Inflammation

Collaborative effort, including KI researchers, successfully delivered short strands of RNA to reduce inflammation. The findings are reported in the October 9, 2011 issue of Nature Biotechnology and could eventually lead to treatments for cancer and heart patients. more...

Koch Institute Professor Named Winner of The Economist's Annual Innovation Awards

Robert Langer will be honored at an October 20, 2011 ceremony.  Tom Standage, chair of the judging panel, described Langer as "one of the most innovative and influential biomedical engineers of our time". more...

Warren Alpert Foundation Prize Awarded to KI Member

David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer is one of two recipients of this year's prestigious $250,000 prize. 
The award recognizes research discoveries that show strong promise for improving human health. more...

Molded Microparticles for Better Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering

In a paper recently published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the KI’s Langer Lab and the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Lab describe a new technique for building microparticles using a microscopic casting mold. The technique allows the scientists to control the shape and drug-release properties of microparticles, and could eventually be used to build large artificial tissues and organs. more...

KI Members Selected as 2011 ACS Fellows

Two Koch Institute members were recognized for outstanding achievement and contributions to science by the American Chemical Society.  Robert S. Langer and Stephen J. Lippard will be honored at the society’s  upcoming 242nd National Meeting  in Denver. ACS Video of Lippard     more...

Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Improved

KI and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals researchers collaborated to find a new nanoparticle that successfully delivered siRNA therapeutics into cells. The researchers tested over 1,500 diverse nanoparticles to deliver the drugs. The research paper appears in this week’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). more...

Promising Polymer May Improve Damaged Vocal Cords

For patients inflicted with vocal cord damage, including laryngeal cancer, improvement may be on the way with a polymer that mimics vocal cords. The gel would be injected periodically to assist vocal cords rather than repair the scarred tissue causing the problem. KI’s Langer Lab collaborated with researchers at MGH and Harvard to develop the synthetic material. more...

Langer Wins Prestigious Chemistry Award

2012 American Chemical Society’s esteemed Priestley  Award won by Robert Langer in recognition of cutting-edge research that helped create the controlled-release drug industry and the field of tissue engineering. more...

Spherical nanoparticle (Image: Nicolle Rager Fuller/Sayo-Art)

Going with the Flow

Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a new way to produce nanoparticles that can deliver drugs for cancer and other diseases. The new production system offers greater control over the size and composition of the particles, allowing large quantities of homogenous particles to be rapidly produced. The particles are formed from a commonly used biodegradable polymer that can carry a large number of drug molecules and release them in a controlled fashion while evading the body's immune system. more...

Dinner Remarks: Robert Langer

Dinner at Walker Memorial, June 10, 2010. watch...

Biodegradable polymer (Image: Jordan Green)

Nanoparticles for gene therapy improve

About five years ago, Professor Janet Sawicki at the Lankenau Institute in Pennsylvania read an article about nanoparticles developed by MIT's Daniel Anderson and Robert Langer for gene therapy, the insertion of genes into living cells for the treatment of disease. The resulting cross-institutional collaboration has led to a promising ovarian cancer formulation. more...

Use of Nanotechnology in Cancer 1

Robert S. Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor watch...

Nanoparticles target tumors and dodge the immune system

A nanotechnology therapy that targets cancer with a 'stealth smart bomb' is to begin patient trials next year in the first clinical test of a pioneering approach to medicine. The nanoparticle, which targets tumour cells while evading the body's immune system, promises to deliver larger and more effective doses of drugs to cancers, while simultaneously sparing patients many of the distressing side-effects of chemotherapy. more...

KI Researchers take aim at ovarian cancer

Tiny particles carrying a killer gene can effectively suppress ovarian tumor growth in mice, according to a team of researchers from MIT and the Lankenau Institute. The findings could lead to a new treatment for ovarian cancer, which now causes more than 15,000 deaths each year in the United States. more...

Robert Langer Lab launches collaboration with Korea University

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on behalf of the Robert Langer Labs at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research announced today that they have signed a collaboration agreement with Korea University, on behalf of the Institute for Biomedical Research. The overall purpose of this collaboration is to develop a high impact biomedical research and education program. more...

The Economist reports on medicine going digital

KI research is paving the way for a revolutionary convergence of engineering and biology. more...

Langer wins Millennium Technology Prize

MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer has won the Millennium Technology Prize, the world's largest award for technology innovation. more...