Science

Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to trio of evolutionary scientists

Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to trio of evolutionary scientists”

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2018 was jointly awarded Wednesday to three people who've used the power of evolution "to develop proteins that solve mankind's chemical problems".

In 1985, Smith developed a method called phage display, based on a kind of virus called a bacteriophage that infects bacteria.

Winter's research relies on phase display for the directed evolution of antibodies, or Y-shaped proteins that attach to infectious viruses and bacteria and let immune cells know they need to ward off an attempted invasion. And including antibodies - that's what Gregory Winter did. They can also be used to grab and stretch cells, and so distinguish between normal and cancerous cells, he said. It has since gone on to become a blockbuster, with sales past year of $18 billion.

These drugs - the first of which were approved in the early 2000s - are now routinely used to treat advanced cancers and autoimmune disorders and to counteract toxins.

"Very soon after we developed [phage display], it soon became clear there were many applications", he said. These enzymes can be used in chemical processes that produce medicines.

Prof Dame Carol Robinson, president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said that directed evolution of enzymes and antibodies "are now transforming medicine". The genes are then inserted into bacteria, which then act as the manufacturing machines and produce randomly mutated enzymes.

"It was a normal day at the lab", Muna said, talking about how it was when they received the news about their win. In a process mimicking evolution, Winter introduced mutations to make antibodies progressively better at binding to their targets.

She tried to change an enzyme called subtilisin. She graduated from Princeton University in 1979 with a B.S.E.in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

"I predict we will see many more Nobel chemistry prizes for women", said Arnold.

She was asleep in a hotel room in Texas when the phone rang.

"I realized that the way most people were going about protein engineering was doomed failure", Arnold said.

When she began her new approach, "some people looked down their noses at it", Arnold told the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation.

In a short speech, she gave credit to her "inspiring" research team. "The Nobel Prize represents Professor Smith's decades of innovation and leadership in biological sciences, and the collaborations he continues to establish throughout the world".

"Very few research breakthroughs are novel. The coutnry has a certain attraction, particularly for scientists", she said. It directly led to the power of monoclonal antibodies being harnessed for treatment of disease.

"The other half of this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry is shared by George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter".

On Tuesday, researchers from the United States, Canada and France were awarded the physics prize for advances in laser technologies. But, this year, for the first time in more than half a century a woman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics (yes, you read that right). Strickland had worked with the third victor, Frenchman Gerard Mourou of the Ecole Polytechnique and the University of MI.

The science and peace prizes are selected by other bodies.

No Nobel literature prize will be awarded this year due to a sex abuse scandal at the Swedish Academy, which choses the victor.



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