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Scientists use enzymes to sober up inebriated mice

Scientists use enzymes to sober up inebriated mice

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Researchers in California have developed a way to quickly reduce the blood alcohol levels of drunken mice, potentially paving the way for a so-called "booze pill" that would instantaneously combat intoxication. The study, led by UCLA professor Yunfeng Lu and USC's Cheng Ji, involves the combination of two enzymes, wrapped in a nanoscale shell. Drunken mice injected with this enzyme nanocapsule saw their alcohol levels drop significantly faster than those in the control group.

"millions of liver cell units inside your stomach."

Researchers have long tried to mimic enzyme complexes in the lab, but have struggled to develop and control stable proteins. Lu and Ji's work could go a long way toward the development of new enzyme pills, including, perhaps, an alcohol antidote that could be orally ingested. Such a pill, Lu says, would “almost be like having millions of liver cell units inside your stomach or in your intestine, helping you to digest alcohol." The team is currently working on other enzyme-based treatments as well, including a hair loss prevention pill that uses nanocapsules to deliver proteins through the skin.