No­bel Prize - 2018

Trio of sci­en­tists wins No­bel Prize in Chem­istry

Chemical Industry Digest - - Science Pages -


Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has an­nounced the No­bel Prize in Chem­istry 2018 for stud­ies in­spired by the power of evo­lu­tion, to de­velop pro­teins that solve mankind’s chem­i­cal prob­lems. The prize is shared be­tween 3 sci­en­tists, with one half to Frances H. Arnold, Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, Pasadena, USA and the other half jointly to Ge­orge P. Smith, Univer­sity of Mis­souri, Columbia, USA and Sir Gregory P. Win­ter, MRC Lab­o­ra­tory of Molec­u­lar Bi­ol­ogy, Cam­bridge, UK.

Arnold re­ceived the prize for the di­rected evo­lu­tion of en­zymes. She has re­fined the meth­ods that are now rou­tinely used to de­velop new cat­a­lysts. The uses of Frances Arnold’s en­zymes in­clude more en­vi­ron­men- tally friendly man­u­fac­tur­ing of chem­i­cal sub­stances, such as phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, and the pro­duc­tion of re­new­able fuels for a greener trans­port sec­tor.

In 1985, Ge­orge Smith de­vel­oped an el­e­gant method known as phage dis­play, where a bac­te­rio­phage can be used to evolve new pro­teins. Gregory Win­ter used phage dis­play for the di­rected evo­lu­tion of an­ti­bod­ies, with the aim of pro­duc­ing new phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. The first one based on this method, adal­i­mumab, was ap­proved in 2002 and is used for rheuma­toid arthri­tis, pso­ri­a­sis, and in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­eases. Since then, phage dis­play has pro­duced an­ti­bod­ies that can neu­tralise tox­ins, coun­ter­act au­toim­mune dis­eases and cure metastatic can­cer.

The win­ners of the 2018 No­bel prize for Chem­istry: (L-R) Frances H. Arnold, Sir Gregory P. Win­ter, Ge­orge P. Smith

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