3 pioneers of 'click' chemistry get Nobel Prize : The Tribune India

3 pioneers of 'click' chemistry get Nobel Prize

Discover reactions that let molecules snap together to create new compounds; help treat cancer

3 pioneers of 'click' chemistry get Nobel Prize

Morten Meldal (left) and Carolyn Bertozzi.



Stockholm, October 5

Scientists Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and Barry Sharpless won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday for discovering reactions that let molecules snap together to create new compounds and that offer insight into cell biology.

The field of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry has been harnessed to improve the targeting of cancer pharmaceuticals now being tested in clinical trials, along with a host of health, agricultural and industrial applications.

Multiple usage

  • Carolyn Bertozzi’s discoveries have been used far beyond oncology, enabling products such as antimicrobials, herbicides, diagnostic tests, corrosion retardants and brightening agents.
  • Bertozzi, 55, who is based at Stanford University, took the click chemistry to a new level, the Nobel committee has observed.

Second honour for Barry Sharpless

  • Barry Sharpless of the US has joined an elite band of scientists who have won two Nobel prizes.
  • Others are John Bardeen, Marie Curie, Linus Pauling and Frederick Sanger.
  • He was the first to propose the idea of connecting molecules using “buckles” around the turn of the millennium.

Piecing together complex structure

  • Morten Meldal describes click chemistry as a way to build complex structures and link them as if they were pieces of Lego. It helps to learn more about cells and track biological processes.

“Combining simple chemical building blocks makes it possible to create an almost endless variety of molecules,” the award-giving body said in a statement, adding that “sometimes simple answers are the best”.

Morten Meldal of Denmark described click chemistry as a way to build complex structures and link them as if they are pieces of Lego, the plastic construction toy. The technology is employed globally to learn more about cells and track biological processes. It also allows assembly in the lab of stable molecules without creating undesirable by-products that had hobbled older methods.

Understanding Glycans

As part of my work, I and my team managed to visualise and understand cell surface structures known as glycans, leading to a new idea in cancer immune therapy. —Carolyn Bertozzi

Barry Sharpless of the US joins an elite band of scientists who have won two Nobel prizes. The other individuals are John Bardeen who won the Physics prize twice, Marie Curie, who won Physics and Chemistry, Linus Pauling who won Chemistry and Peace and Frederick Sanger who won the Chemistry prize twice.

“I’m absolutely stunned, I’m sitting here and I can hardly breathe,” Carolyn Bertozzi said from California after the academy reached her by telephone with the news she had won. She added that as part of her work, she and her team managed to visualise and understand cell surface structures known as glycans, leading to a new idea in cancer immune therapy.

Bertozzi works at Stanford University, Sharpless works at the Scripps Research institute, both in California, while Meldal is at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Meldal said his legs and body started shaking with excitement when the Nobel committee called.

“It is not every day to have a Dane get the Nobel Prize,” he said, adding he had been recording a teaching video when he received the news and that he was very proud on behalf of his colleagues and team. — Reuters

#cancer

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