For the first time in almost 40 years of recognizing outstanding contributions to medical science, the Gairdner Foundation of Willowdale, Ontario, Canada, will honor the growing field of biomedical engineering. Robert Langer, a biomedical engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has made landmark discoveries in drug delivery, is one of five researchers who will be presented with the foundation's annual International Awards at a ceremony on October 25 in Toronto.

"When I started doing [the drug-delivery] work in the 1970s, people in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering thought it was on the fringe, at best," recalls Langer. "Now it's something they're very proud of."

Since its inception in 1957, the foundation has honored 243 scientists. Of these honorees, 46 -- or almost 20 percent -- have gone on to win a Nobel Prize. The five winners for 1996, each of whom will receive $30,000 in Canadian funds ($21,900...

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