Three scientists have won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Carolyn R. Bertozzi of Stanford University, Morten Meldal of the University of Copenhagen, and K. Barry Sharpless of Scripps Research in California share the prize for their work on click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions. Click chemistry involves reactions that unite two synthetic molecules quickly and irreversibly. Some of these reactions can be performed inside living cells without disrupting biochemical processes, making them bioorthogonal.This approach is used to tag biomolecules with fluorescent probes that illuminate the inner workings of cellular biochemistry, for example, and it also offers a way to produce antibody-drug conjugates that have highly targeted therapeutic action in the body. Click chemistry is even being directly applied inside patients, in ongoing clinical trials of a powerful cancer therapy. “I truly believe that the potential applications of click chemistry are unlimited—from materials science to life-saving drugs, click chemistry is here to stay,” said John Moses, a click chemistry researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, in an email to C&EN.
Congratulations to the winners!