News FocusPharmacology

How the Body's 'Garbage Disposal' May Inactivate Drugs

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Science  05 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5501, pp. 35-37
DOI: 10.1126/science.10.1126/SCIENCE.291.5501.35

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Recent work is revealing the machinery of the body's defense against poisons and other foreign chemicals. The work, reported over the last year, helps explain not only why taking small doses of a poison can provide immunity to it, but also why taking certain drugs or herbs, like the popular St. John's wort, can render others ineffective. A single protein sentry-perhaps aided by a handful of assistants--triggers the liver's defense against chemical toxins.