The 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for 2018 has been bestowed on three scientists who ‘harnessed the power of evolution’.
Half of the prize was awarded to two scientists whose work led to the development of drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel diseases, and more recently to cure metastatic cancer. George P. Smith from the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA together with Sir Gregory P. Winter from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK have been recognised for their work on the phage display of peptides and antibodies.
In 1985, George Smith developed phage display, where a bacteriophage can be used to evolve new proteins. Gregory Winter subsequently used phage display for the directed evolution of antibodies, which led to the development of the monoclonal antibody adalimumab in 2002. Since then, phage display has been used to develop a range of revolutionary treatments.
They share the award with Frances H. Arnold from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA for her work on the directed evolution of enzymes which has led to more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and was critical to development of the diabetes drug sitagliptin.