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Lab, Field, & Clinic
October 5, 2005

Robert Langer, ScD—Engineering Medicine

JAMA. 2005;294(13):1609-1610. doi:10.1001/jama.294.13.1609

Cancer research isn’t a traditional career track for a chemical engineer. But Robert Langer, ScD, isn’t an ordinary chemical engineer. After completing his doctoral degree in 1974, he turned down offers from the petroleum industry to take a postdoctoral position with cancer researcher Judah Folkman, MD, at Children’s Hospital, in Boston.

Langer’s task in Folkman’s laboratory was to isolate the first angiogenesis inhibitor (Langer et al. Science. 1976;193:70-72). One crucial aspect of this challenge was to come up with a plastic, or polymer, delivery system that would slowly release these large protein molecules to tissues in a controlled manner.