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Ice Bucket Challenge funds help scientists discover gene responsible for ALS


People thought it was silly two summers ago, but the Ice Bucket Challenge Internet sensation actually gathered enough funds to make an important breakthrough in ALS research.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Project MinE recently discovered the gene that is responsible for ALS. Project MinE scientists were able to research this gene with help from the ALS Association, which donated $1 million from the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Henry Cavill in his Superman costume and Amy Adams do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on the set of ‘ Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’

The identified gene is NEK1, which its variants could provide clues to understanding and potentially treating familial and sporadic ALS.

“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled us to secure funding from new sources in new parts of the world,” Bernard Muller, founder of Project MinE and ALS patient, said in a statement. “This transatlantic collaboration supports our global gene hunt to identify the genetic drivers of ALS.”

ALS affects four to eight per 100,000 people and approximately 5,000 are diagnosed each year in the U.S.

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