• Kyodo

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Distillation remnants of “shochu,” a popular Japanese alcoholic beverage, effectively prevent cancer from spreading, according to research released Wednesday by Sojo University.

Ryuichi Ueoka, a professor of applied chemistry at the Kumamoto university, led a research group that discovered the effect, group members said.

The group will give a presentation on the effect at the fifth general meeting of the Japanese Association for Molecular Target Therapy of Cancer, which begins today in Tokyo.

The group used a centrifuge to separate the distillation remains of three kinds of shochu into solids and a supernatant liquid, which they sterilized. They then added the liquid to cultivated cancer cells in a test tube.

The liquid curbed the spread of the cancer cells, such as those of a liver or stomach, by 58 percent to 98 percent.

The group members said they will conduct animal testing to determine whether the shochu remnants are effective in extending life.

At the same time, they will analyze the active substances in the remnants.

Ueoka said hundreds of thousands of tons of the remnants are produced annually.

“Dumping them in the sea is about to be prohibited internationally,” Ueoka said. “I hope they can be effectively used not only for medicines but also for food supplements.”

Shochu is distilled mainly from rice, oats or potatoes after they are fermented.

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