Scientists Developing Nano-Capsule That Can Reduce Alcohol Intoxication

If you've ever told someone, "I'm not as think as you drunk I am," then you may benefit from a sobering pill that reduces the blood alcohol content in your system. Hold your horses -- before you run off to the local five and dime, understand that no such pill currently exists. Sure, there are remedies that claim to sober you up, but none of them are truly effective. No matter how much coffee you gulp down, time is the only real remedy.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) are hoping to change that. Lead researcher Yunfeng Lu, a professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Cheng Ji, a biochemical and molecular biology professor, published an article in Nature Nanotechnology describing research into nanocapsules containing enzymes that reduce blood alcohol levels.

The formula is a mix of two enzymes packed inside a nanoscale shell resulting in a functional enzyme complex made of nontoxic polymer. The researchers tested the concoction by injecting the capsules into intoxicated mice. In doing so, mice that received the treatment saw their blood alcohol content fall much quicker compared with those that didn't receive it.

"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," the researchers wrote. "We show that nanocomplexes containing alcohol oxidase and catalase could reduce blood alcohol levels in intoxicated mice, offering an alternative antidote and prophylactic for alcohol intoxication."

Down the line, the research could lead to an oral antidote to having drank too much.