Nobel winner says many people led to prize

Sunday, 07 Oct, 2018

Arnold, 62, an American professor of chemical engineering, bioengineering and biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, earned the award for her work with the evolution of enzymes.

The Nobel Assembly said: "The 2018 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken control of evolution and used it for purposes that bring the greatest benefit to humankind".

Winter, of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, then harnessed that method and used it to direct the evolution of new antibodies - immune proteins that bind to and neutralize pathogens such as bacteria or viruses - with the aim of making new drugs. Winter used the process to make new pharmaceuticals, and it's made "antibodies that can neutralise toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer". A gene is re-created many, many times, which creates a library of variants that are then used inside test tube organisms to see which variant is the best.

Smith developed a method using a virus that infects bacteria to produce new proteins while Winter used the same method for the directed evolution of antibodies, with the aim of producing new pharmaceuticals. Its content is created separately from USA TODAY.

Other antibody drugs at the cutting edge of medicine use the same technology, including a number of treatments that have proved highly effective against cancer.

Douglas Kell, a professor of bioanalytical science at the University of Manchester, says the prize is "fantastic news".

Smith, speaking to The Associated Press after learning about this Nobel win, credited others for the work that led to his breakthrough.

After repeatedly screening and mutating those microbes, she could use them to build a more powerful version of a desired protein. "It's happenstance. That was certainly the case with my work", he told the AP. There is no Nobel Prize for Biology.

Sir Gregory, 67, said that early in his research he had no idea that antibodies would become so valuable to the pharmaceutical industry. The prize was established by Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite. Their work involved the development and use of a technique called phage display to direct the evolution of antibodies, immune proteins that can be used to block biological processes, into various forms. Methods the current Nobel laureates are now developing at the worldwide level.

"We don't have anything specifically but I do think we want to celebrate as much as we can in any way we can these types of successes", Cartwright said. I mean, you know, enzymes make chemical reactions go faster. The other half will be shared by George Smith of the University of Missouri and Gregory Winter of the MRC Molecular Biology Laboratory in Cambridge, England.

He said he learned of the prize in a pre-dawn phone call from Stockholm.

Arnold is the second female Nobel laureate to be announced this year, following Donna Strickland's share of the physics prize announced on October 2, 2018.

The peace prize victor will be announced on Friday, followed by economics on Monday.

For the first time in the Nobel Prizes' 117-year history, an American woman on Wednesday was awarded the coveted prize for chemistry - an accolade that only four other women in the world have won.

The $1 million prize will be shared by James Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at Kyoto University.