Trio win Nobel Chemistry Prize for research harnessing evolution


Chemistry is the third of this year's Nobel Prizes.

The awards were announced at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Lab colleagues told Winter that 2,793 pounds ($3,636) worth of Champagne have been ordered before asking "can we have your credit card please?"


Arnold also is the second person this week with ties to San Diego to win the Nobel.

Frances H Arnold was born 1956 in Pittsburgh, USA.

Marie Curie, Joliot-Curie's mother, shared half of the prize with her husband and fellow physicist Pierre Curie in 1911 for "the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel".

Half of the prize goes to Arnold, from the California Institute of Technology, for her work on directing the evolution of enzymes - proteins that speed up chemical reactions.

He said he has "no idea" what he'll do with the prize money.

Smith is one of three researchers who "harnessed the power of evolution" to produce enzymes and antibodies that have led to a new best-selling drug and biofuels.

Experts said the developments for which the winners won the 2018 prize can be more ecological than many other chemical processes. But Frances Arnold called that a, quote, "somewhat arrogant approach". Her work has engineered protein machines that use novel biochemical systems. Arnold devised methods for reshuffling the genes that make enzymes, and then seeing which new recipes produced promising effects. He then found the ones that bound the best to specific proteins and randomly mutated them. Again, either of the three could have won the Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

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Winter has used phage display to produce new pharmaceuticals. Smith showed in 1985 that inserting DNA into these viruses would make them display proteins linked to that DNA on their surfaces.

Gregory Winter (L) and George P. Smith are seen in file photos. He took phage display and applied it to antibodies.

In 1993, she became the first scientist to prove that you could directly guide the evolution of enzymes. And you could, you know, develop enzymes to do things that people hadn't thought were possible before. Currently, her main area of focus is the production of renewable energy, with a long-term goal of creating environmentally-friendly fuel that will revolutionize the transportation sector.

He was honoured for pioneering work that led to a new generation of advanced antibody drugs.

The world's most sold prescription drug - adalimumab, which treats rheumatoid arthritis and is sold by its trade name Humira - is a result of their efforts. Many other antibodies created in this way are now in clinical trials, such as those developed to fight Alzheimer's disease, according to the Academy.

That's it for this episode and for our coverage of the 2018 Nobel Prizes in the sciences.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: Yeah. There's a question about whether it's keeping up with modern times.

Greg Winter, a British scientist who shared the 2018 Nobel Prize for chemistry, says an encounter with a cancer patient made him realize the importance of his work.

"I'm sure that there are people who are skeptical that a woman can do this job as well as a man", Arnold continued, adding, "I am blissfully unaware of such people - and have been gifted with the ability to ignore them completely".

Frederick Sanger, from St John's and Fellow of King's, is one of only four individuals to have been awarded a Nobel Prize twice - he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1958 and 1980.