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Innovator Langer to Receive Palmaz Award from BioMed SA
September 9, 2013

By Jim Forsyth, 1200 WOAI news

Dr. Robert S. Langer, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer and one of the leading medical innovators of the modern era, will receive the Julio Palmaz Award for Innovation in Healthcare and the Biosciences from BioMed SA later this month in San Antonio, 1200 WOAI news reports.

Langer, who has helped start two dozen companies to market innovations ranging from drug delivery systems to new methods of creating human tissue, says he is 'honored' to receive an award named for Palmaz, pointing out that he and Palmaz were inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame at the same time.

Palmaz invented the Palmaz expandable balloon stent while at the U.T. Health Science Center. The Palmaz stent is now used in 90% of operations where stents are required, and has been named one of the 'Ten Patents That Changed toe World' in the Twentieth Century by Intellectual Property International Magazine.

Langer, who has written more than 1200 articles and is the most cited engineer in history, tells 1200 WOAI news that, much like Palmaz, his vision is to determine what patients need and go out and create products that answer that need.

"One of the goals that I have is not just to make discoveries in the lab, but to get them out to the world," Langer said.

He says the modern inventor is a 'problem solver,' and he is proud of his ability not just to come up with products to meet the need, but also to work with the business end of the equation as well to get those products to the patents who need them.
"I have a vision of what I think the future will be, in kind of a broad way," he said.

Langer already has a stack of awards testifying to his influence as a medical device inventor over the past quarter century. He is a recipient of the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society, and the Lemelson-MIT prize, the world's largest prize for invention for 'being one of history's most prolific inventors in medicine.'

Langer says his inventions need to be not only life saving, but also 'life improving.'

"The question to me is not only the quantity of life, but also the quality of life," he said.

Dr. Langer told 1200 WOAI news that the world is on the verge of significant breakthroughs in all types of medicine, from cancer to wound care. He said researchers of the future will look back on the coming decades as the way we now look at the last decades of the 19th century, when the framework of the mechanical and industrial innovations of the last hundred years was built with the rapid fire invention of things like the electronic light, the movie camera, the phonograph, the automobile, the telegraph, and the airplane.

The Palmaz Award ceremony will take place on Wednesday, September 18 at the Vistas at Valero. To attend contact:


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