Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
Medical | By

Arnold, Smith, Winter win 2018 Nobel Chemistry Prize

"Pretty much every Nobel laureate understands that what he's getting the prize for is built on many precedents, a great number of ideas and research that he is exploiting because he is at the right place at the right time", Smith said.

Arnold is only the fifth woman to win the prize in its 117-year history.

Frances Arnold conducted the first directed evolution of enzymes, which are proteins that catalyse chemical reactions.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says the three researchers who were awarded this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry "harnessed the power of evolution" to develop enzymes and antibodies that have led to new pharmaceuticals and biofuels.

She was asleep in a hotel room in Texas when the phone rang. "I breed molecules", Arnold told Reuters after learning of the award, which she said had come as a complete surprise. "But then it was a wonderful feeling". "We're going to give it away, I think".

"With this medicine, far fewer people with rheumatoid arthritis are forced to use a wheelchair", said immunologist Dan Davies of the University of Manchester. Her work has been effective in cutting out the use of toxic catalysts. "Proteins aren't designed, they're evolved".

FILE PHOTO: Frances Arnold, Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry, California Institute of Technology, participates in the Investing in the Future: Accelerating the Clean-Tech Revolution panel at the 2008 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California April 30, 2008.

Professor George Smith, another American, and Sir Gregory will share the other half.

Today that speed and efficiency was rewarded with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The third laureate, Winter, was born 1951 in Leicester, U.K. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and is the research leader emeritus at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

They were honoured for "phage display of peptides and antibodies".

Phage display has since been used to produce antibodies that can neutralize toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and cure metastatic cancer.

In other Nobel prizes this year, the medicine prize went Monday to James Allison of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University, who learned how to release the brakes that cancer can put on the immune system, discoveries that helped cancer doctors fight many advanced-stage tumors and save an "untold" numbers of lives. Only five women, including Arnold, have ever won.

Tuesday: Nobel Prize in physics is awarded to Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics.

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