Scientists have been able to "freeze in time" a mysterious process by which a critical enzyme metabolizes drugs and chemicals in food for the first time ever.
By recreating this process in the lab, a team of researchers has solved a 40-year-old puzzle about changes in a family of enzymes produced by the liver that break down common drugs such as Tylenol, caffeine, and opiates, as well as nutrients in many foods. The breakthrough discovery may help future researchers develop a wide range of more efficient and less-expensive drugs, household products, and other chemicals. The scientists' findings will be published in the journal Science
on 12 November 2010.