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Lemelson- MIT Prize Of $30K Awarded

By Marissa Vogt

NEWS EDITOR

The $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize was awarded this week to David A. Berry G for developing new treatments for stroke and cancer patients, according to an MIT press release.

“Overall, my research is really focused on looking at how complex sugars affect cell function and protein function,” Berry said.

Part of Berry’s research is dedicated to the development of a polymer-heparin conjugate that can be used in treating cancer patients, according to the press release. Berry said that the work has involved “finding a way to bring them inside the cell” where they are “taken up selectively by cancer cells.” The result, Berry said, is “a pretty selective way of killing cancer.” Chemotherapy often has very negative side effects because it attacks healthy cells as well as cancer cells.

Another one of Berry’s inventions is a biomaterial that cancer cells adhere to. It kills them and prevents them from detaching from the surface.

Yet another area of Berry’s research includes a new way to potentially treat stroke patients and a method of engineering bacteria to inexpensively produce hydrogen.

Berry said that he holds about seven patents “in various stages.” He definitely would like to continue in the same prolific manner and wants “to get things into clinical trials,” he said.

“I was very surprised and very happy,” he said about winning the prize, which he called a great honor.

The $6.5 million Lemelson-MIT program was established in 1994 by inventor Jerome H. Lemelson to encourage innovation and invention. In addition to the annual student prize, the program also awards a $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize.