Trio win Nobel Chemistry Prize for 'a revolution in evolution'

2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to Americans Frances Arnold and George Smith and Britain's Gregory Winter

2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to Americans Frances Arnold and George Smith and Britain's Gregory Winter

'This year's nobel laureates have been able to direct evolution to make proteins with new and useful properties, ' said Claes Gustafsson, chairman of the Nobel committee for chemistry, at the announcement of the prize in Stockholm, Sweden.

Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for using a sped-up version of evolution to create new proteins that have led to a best-selling drug and other products.

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded on Wednesday to USA scientist, Frances Arnold plus the Anglo-American duo, George Smith and Gregory Winter for pioneering work on evolutionary science.

The first pharmaceutical based on Sir Gregory's work was approved for use in 2002 and is employed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases, the academy said.

Female chemistry laureates are not as rare as physics laureates, although Arnold is only the fifth in the award's history, after Ada Yonath who won the prize for her work in elucidating the structure of ribosomes in 2009; Dorothy Hodgkin, who won for her pioneering work in crystallography in 1964; and Irene Joliot-Curie who won for discovering artificial radioactivity in 1935.

This year's other honorees-Smith and Winter-have both made significant contributions to the phage display method, which finds a bacteria-infecting virus known as a bacteriophage employed in the evolution of new proteins.

This method has been used to create antibodies that can neutralize toxins such as that which causes anthrax and slows down an autoimmune disease called lupis, and even cure metastatic cancer.

After learning that he had won the Nobel Prize, Smith spoke to the Associated Press.

The other half of the award goes to Winter and Smith, for their work on "phage display of peptides and antibodies". The three winners will share a prize of 9.0 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million).

Clearly his entrepreneurial vision, ability to surround himself by extremely competent people and openness to new techniques such as phage display makes him a worthy victor of this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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He insisted: "I had absolutely no inkling that this was going to happen".

"Some people breed cats and dogs", she said, "I breed molecules".

He concludes, "Very few research breakthroughs are novel".

Born in Norwalk, 1941, Smith received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and is the Curators' Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

He built up a collection of phages, with billions of antibody varieties on their surface, and engineered them make them more effective.

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

On Monday, James P. Allison and Tsuku Honjo were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology/ Medicine for discovering that human body's immune system can be used to attack cancer cells. Donna Strickland, from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, shared the physics award on Tuesday.

Arnold, reached by telephone at an airport in Dallas, told the AP: "I predict that we will see many more Nobel chemistry prizes for women".

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