Researchers have successfully lowered the blood alcohol content in mice by injecting them with nanocapsules filled with enzymes that break down alcohol. Although this opens the door for a wide world of medical breakthroughs, what this means for us simple drunks is the development of a pill that sobers you up.
Enzymes are directly involved with metabolic processes in the body, so the application of using enzymes that aid in processing alcohol is not a far fetched application. Enzymes are tiny though, so they require an equally tiny container, or shell, if they are to survive in the body long enough to do their job and not degrade into biological waste. That’s where the nanocapsule comes into play.
The research team explained the results of their findings:
Here we show that two or more enzymes with complementary functions can be assembled and encapsulated within a thin polymer shell to form enzyme nanocomplexes. These nanocomplexes exhibit improved catalytic efficiency and enhanced stability when compared with free enzymes. Furthermore, the co-localized enzymes display complementary functions, whereby toxic intermediates generated by one enzyme can be promptly eliminated by another enzyme.
Think of the process as a biological time release that has the ability to exhibit a multitude of different functions on the body via improved biologic function. The specific function that the researchers focused on improving was lowering the blood alcohol levels in mice, a process which worked quickly and efficiently. Yunfeng Lu, one of the leaders of the research team and a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA, said that consuming these nano-encapsulated enzymes would
be like having millions of liver cell units inside your stomach or in your intestine, helping you to digest alcohol.
First researchers created a particle that allows us to live without breathing, and now they’ve given the world an easy fix to waking up naked in the local McDonalds plastered in your own puke. I wonder if bars and clubs of the future will be required to hand these novel pills out to patrons before they leave the dance hall to brave the world with quadruple vision.
MIT Tech Review: Nanocapsules Sober Up Drunken Mice
Nature Nanotechnology: Biomimetic Enzyme Nanocomplexes
Wondergressive: No Breathing Required