What’s the Latest Development?
A capsule containing two complimentary enzymes measuring just 10 nanometers thick could be a vessel for new vaccines and a powerful cure for hangovers, says Yunfeng Lu, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA. The two enzymes, which carry out different functions in the body, eliminate the toxins of the alcohol. “The first, alcohol oxidase, supports the body’s oxidation of alcohol. The unfortunate side effect of this oxidation, however, is the production of hydrogen peroxide, which is itself toxic. So the pill contains another enzyme that transforms the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.”
What’s the Big Idea?
“In some ways more significant—at least for those of you who have no immediate need for the pill—is the understanding that there are a huge number of enzymes available to us. Now that it has been demonstrated that you can combine two different enzymes to combat a malady, this could open the door to a host of new treatments for illnesses.” Researchers lament that because nanotechnology is more a catalyst for scientific advancement than an actual product itself, sparking public interest has been difficult. An end to hangovers, however, would certainly get people’s attention.
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