Editors' Choice

Ice Bucket Challenge Funds Helped Uncover ALS Gene

Diana Rolland / February 12, 2017

You’ve all seen it, heck, you might have even participated. It was a viral trend that helped shed light on the debilitating disease that is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka ALS), which is also commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This disease progresses very rapidly and it attacks the nerve cells that are used to control voluntary muscles – you know, your face, legs, and arms. Having ALS generally leads to death, but this can be anywhere from two to five years after a person has been diagnosed with the disease.

 

While many people thought it was a silly trend just two summers ago, those same people might be rethinking that now. Because of the outrageous publicity the trend generated, enough funds were raised to support the ongoing research into ALS – and just recently, Project MinE from the University of Massachusetts Mеdісаl Sсhооl, discovered a new gene that is a common occurrence that contributes to ALS.

 

The ALS Association donated $1 million to Project Mine scientists to help with their research into the gene. The gene is called NEK1, and when researchers look into its variants, they may uncover the clues to possibly understand and treat both sporadic and familial ALS.

 

For more information, check out the press release from the ALS Association directly.

 

Featured image via forbes (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)