Artificial skin pioneer receives bioscience award


US biomedical scientist Dr Robert Langer (pictured), whose work led to the use of artificial skin to repair burns, has been named the winner by The Economist in the bioscience category of its tenth annual Innovation Awards.

The award, sponsored by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd, recognises Dr Langer’s exceptional contribution to tissue engineering and drug delivery.

A pioneer of biomedical engineering, Dr Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he leads the world’s largest biomedical engineering laboratory.

The polymer-based artificial tissues developed by Dr Langer are now used as a basis for replacement skin, as well as the controlled administration of drugs and hormones.

“Robert Langer is one of the most innovative and influential biomedical engineers of our time,” said Tom Standage, Digital Editor at The Economist and chairman of the judging panel.

“His proven successes in drug-delivery and tissue engineering have made possible new forms of medication and treatment. He is a worthy recipient of our bioscience award.”

Ken Jones, CEO of Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd, commented: “Robert Langer has made an extraordinary contribution to the field of biomedical engineering and has been responsible for true breakthroughs in the global quest to discover better ways to manage diseases.”

To mark the tenth year of its Innovation Awards, The Economist is inviting all past winners to attend awards ceremony on 21 October. Those attending include Hermes Chan, developer of rapid HIV diagnostic testing, and Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, developer of low-cost medical devices for the developing world.