Nobel Prize - 2018
Trio of scientists wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry
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