Remember ice bucket challenge? It just funded an ALS breakthrough


People often tend to do dismiss the idea of viral charity campaign as useless. But one such campaign just proved to be really worth it, reported The Guardian. The ALS ice bucket challenge, which went viral in 2014, raised more than $100 million within 30 days and actually funded a number of research projects and one of these was Project MinE, a large data-driven initiative funded by the ALS Association through ice bucket challenge donations, as well as donations from the organization’s Georgia and New York chapters. The project’s researchers announced on Monday that they have identified a new gene associated with the disease ALS, which experts say could lead to new treatment possibilities.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurological disorder in which the motor neurons that control muscle function slowly die. The disease can be either sporadic or inherited, and in either case there is currently no cure.

According to the Guardian report, The newly discovered gene, NEK1, is only associated with 3% of ALS cases, but it is present in both inherited and sporadic forms of the disease, which researchers say gives them a new target for the development of possible treatments.

Project MinE has been working to sequence the genomes of 15,000 people with the disease, and the discovery, which was described in a paper published on Monday in the journal Nature Genetics, involved more than 80 researchers in 11 countries.

In The ice bucket challenge people dunked a bucket of iced water over their heads in order to solicit donations before nominating others to do the same.

Scores of celebrities including Mark Zuckerberg, Daniel Craig, Leonardo Di Caprio, Daniel Radcliffe, Rihanna, Eminem, Neil Patrick Harris and hundreds more made videos and supported the cause, but the campaign was also criticised widely.

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Sourced from The Guardian, Featured image