The recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will be announced TOMORROW —- it is also the first Nobel Prize to be unmasked this year! This is definitely the zenith in life science research in a year: elation and excitement are all around, plus fervid speculation on who is the lucky one.
While everyone has their favorite researchers and researches, they are my top three:
1. Gene editing: CRISPR-Cas9
Probably you never heard about the term CRISPR-Cas9, but you should be able recognize these news:
Yes, CRISPR is the driver behind these amazing things! CRISPR-Cas9 technology enables gene editing in a simple and reliable way, hence it has stormed both research molecular and medicine, at an unprecedented rate.
2. Immunotherapy: CAR T cells
“The living drug”, this is how Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell is called.
In short, the technology empower our body’s own immune cells to fight against cancer, by engineering and coating the surface of T cell so that it binds and kills a cancer cell specifically. You can imagine that cancer treatment will be no longer a torture: not only because the CAR T cells target cancer cells, but also it will not hurt the body as it is an intact part for it. What makes it more promising is that it is approved this year as a treatment to leukemia.
3. Structural Biology: cyro-EM
(But maybe it should be enlisted in Nobel Prize in Chemistry?)
In biology and its extended field, structure is the fundamental of everything: without knowing the structure, how can you study the function and interaction of a biomolecule? Indeed, it can take ten years to determine the structure of a complex protein using traditional technique called X-ray crystallography.
I have an example here: it takes 10+ years until Peter Agre and Roderick McKinnon elucidated the structure of Aquaporin, then they won a Nobel Prize for this discovery (Well, 10 years for Nobel Prize, is not bad). The emergence of cryo-EM speeds up this process, it is undoubtedly a giant leap in science!
But as we are in Sweden, the hometown of Nobel Prize, there is a lot more things to be involved in than the above speculation and anticipation. The announcement of Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine heralds the opening of the Nobel Season, which won’t fade until the end of this year! I am also sharing my ever-expanding list below (as I am still eagerly waiting for updates at nobelprize.org:
1. Nobel Prize Announcement
11.30 AM, 2 Oct
Nobel Assembly, Karolinska Institutet, Wallenbergsalen, Nobel Forum, Nobels väg 1, Solna, Stockholm
2. Nobel Week Dialogue: The Future of Truth
9 December 2017, Gothenburg
Online registration opened 18 Oct 2017
3. Nobel Lectures
December 2017 (date not fixed), Stockholm
No registration required
4. Prize Award Ceremony and Nobel Banquet
10 December 2017, City Hall, Stockholm
You may also have a look at some first-hand experience with Nobel Prize last year:
LIVE – The Future of Food – Nobel Week Dialogue (by Divya, our Sustainability Blogger last year)