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Fiji Time: 3:43 PM on Friday 19 September

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I'll drink to that

Daily Mail
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

PARTY animals could soon be able to sober up in an instant just by popping a pill.

Researchers have developed a cocktail of alcohol metabolising enzymes that speedily reduces blood alcohol levels in drunk mice.

The treatment, which has been compared to having 'millions of liver cells inside your stomach,' could have far-reaching implications for drinkers.

Yunfeng Lu, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA, and Cheng Ji, a professor of biochemical and molecular biology at the University of Southern California injected the intoxicated mice with nanocapsules containing two enzymes.

One of the enzymes, Oxidase, comes with an unfortunate by-product of hydrogen peroxide, which can be harmful.

As such, it needs to work in concert with another enzyme that decomposes the hydrogen peroxide.

The findings showed the party mice that received the injection sobered up much quicker compared to those that didn't get the enzyme treatment.

The breakthrough is still in its early stages and is not ready to be tested on humans.

But Lu said it could lead to a new class of drugs that act as an alcohol "antidote".

He envisages the medicine could be taken in such simple form as a pill.

The scientist said the nanocapsules work as a sort of booze buster in your gut.

It would "almost be like having millions of liver cell units inside your stomach or in your intestine, helping you to digest alcohol", Lu said.

In the meantime, the researchers are working on other enzyme drugs.

One, which would be almost as popular as the booze-busting pill, relies on nanocapsules to deliver an enzyme that destroys the substance that causes male-pattern baldness.


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