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Why Some Antibiotic Drugs Pack Such A Punch

By studying the intricate mechanisms at work in protein production, a Princeton-led team has discovered why certain kinds of antibiotics are so effective. In doing so, they also have discovered how one protein protects against cell death, shedding light on a natural cancer-fighting process.

In a study appearing in the Aug. 7 edition of the journal Science, Thomas Silhavy, Princeton's Warner-Lambert Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, and Johna van Stelten, a graduate student, working with two Swiss researchers have uncovered how some antibiotics in common use for 50 years -- tetracycline and chloramphenicol -- can be so lethal against certain strains of bacteria.

Simply put, these drugs plug things up.

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