Geoffrey von Maltzahn, a 28-year-old Ph.D. candidate in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, won a $30,000 Lemelson-MIT award for his nanomedicine cancer therapy inventions.
Von Maltzahn has been working with a Harvard-MIT HST electrical engineering and computer science professor to invent treatments that could precisely target and destroy cancer cells without affecting healthy tissue. Von Maltzahn developed polymer-coated gold “nano-antennas” that target tumors and destroy them with heat.
His second invention involves sets of nanoparticles that communicate with each other once inside the human body. One group of particles locates the tumor and then sends signals to recruit another group to swarm and kill it.