‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ leads to ALS breakthrough!

GAINESVILLE, Fla — The ALS Association says money raised through the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge” helped fund a breakthrough in ALS research.


The challenge became a viral sensation in 2014 and raised $115 million for the association. Those who accepted the challenge allowed buckets of ice water to be dumped on their heads to raise awareness and money for ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease.


Figures from the ALS Association show $1 million of that helped fund a global effort to help find genetic drivers of the condition called Project MinE.


The ALS Association says in a paper published this week in the journal Nature Genetics reveals Project MinE researchers have identified the NEK1 gene’s connection to ALS.


“This isn’t the cause of ALS, but if you have this mutation and if you get the environmental exposure, then you run a higher risk of getting ALS,” said Dr. James Wymer with UF Health.


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