ALS-Related Gene Found Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge
Science| | By Margo Gothelf
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014? When everyone and anyone were pouring freezing cold buckets of ice water over their heads? Well, it looks like that viral trend had a pretty positive outcome. The Ice Bucket Challenge raised enough money to help make an important breakthrough in the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS.
Over 17 million people participated in the social media challenge raising $115 million in just eight weeks. The money helped to fund over 150 ongoing projects, with $77 million going to the quest for treatment and eventually a cure.
One million dollars from the donations were given to a project called MinE, a project from the University of Massachusetts Medical School that is “able to identify a gene that is responsible for the degenerative disease,” shared CNN.
The discovery of the gene could help therapy development and help bring scientists that much closer to a cure.
“The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available,” chief scientist at the ALS Association, Dr. Lucie Bruijin, told CNN. “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE’s work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result.”
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, “causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to gradually deteriorate. Within two to five years of diagnosis, patients lose their ability to breathe, leading to their death,” shared CNN.
CNN shared that “this is the third ASL-related gene researchers have discovered using the money from the Ice Bucket Challenge.”