Americans, 1 British scientist win Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Leslie Hanson
October 3, 2018

'This work has led to new chemical tools that can be used for everything from environmentally friendly detergents to the creation of new biofuels and pharmaceuticals'.

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

Arnold, only the fifth woman to win a chemistry Nobel, was awarded half of the nine million Swedish krona (about $1.29 million Cdn) prize, while Smith and Winter shared the other half.

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

Arnold from the California Institute of Technology was awarded one half of the award, while George P. Smith from the University of Missouri and Sir Gregory P. Winter from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the United Kingdom shared the other half.

Smith and Winter were honored for their work on the "phage display of peptides and antibodies", which has led to the production of antibodies used to counteract toxins and in some autoimmune and cancer therapies.


Gregory Winter of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, is on the UK-Israel Science Council, which brings together experts from both countries. "It's happenstance. That was certainly the case with my work", he said.

The first such drug created from this method, adalimumab, was approved in 2002 and is now used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases, according to a statement. "Mine was an idea in a line of research that built very naturally on the lines of research that went before".

Experts said the developments for which the winners won the 2018 prize can be more ecological than many other chemical processes. Smith realised that this could be handy: for example if it wasn't known what protein a particular gene gave rise to, it could be put into a phage and the mystery protein would appear on the surface and could be identified.

Chemistry is the third of this year's Nobels and comes after the prizes for Medicine and Physics were awarded earlier this week.

Last year's prize went to researchers in the United States, Switzerland and Britain who developed a microscope technique that lets scientists see details of the molecules that drive life. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, honouring the man who endowed the five Nobel Prizes, will be revealed Monday.

This file photo taken on October 26, 2012 shows British scientist Gregory Winter on stage after receiving the Prince of Asturias 2012 Award for Technical and Scientific Research during the Prince of Asturias awards ceremony in Oviedo.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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