Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge that took the world by storm in 2014? Countless people from all over the world including numerous celebrities joined in the challenge. It was also condemned by many, despite the fact that most who joined in did so for the purpose of raising awareness and/or funds for ALS research. Well, thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, a groundbreaking discovery was just made regarding ALS.
ALS refers to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and may occasionally still be referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease or Motor Neuron Disease. The Ice Bucket Challenge helped in funding Project MinE of the University of Massachusetts Medical School by donating $1 million. The scientists behind the project have just discovered that a gene called NEK1 is responsible for ALS. This is key to gaining a better understand of ALS and could very well lead to more effective treatment for it.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was a big hit in 2014.
It was a campaign to raise funds (and awareness) for ALS. It caught on quickly, spread like wildfire, and ended up raising over $100 million.
Part of the money was used to fund Project MinE of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
The study aimed to learn more about ALS and how to treat it. Stephen Hawking (below) is one of an already large and growing number of ALS patients.
The scientists were able to identify the gene, NEK1, which causes ALS.
ALS destroys nerve cells that allow us to control voluntary muscles. ALS patients typically die within two to five years after they’ve been diagnosed, as no cure has been found yet.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge helped pave the way for scientists to discover the disease’s root cause, the NEK1 gene. Such an important discovery will surely inspire scientists to decode the gene and hopefully find a cure for the disease.