Scientists say money from ALS Ice Bucket Challenge led to new gene discovery
Scientists hope discovery will provide another potential target for therapy development
The Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral two years ago, raising hundreds of millions of dollars, has helped identify a new gene behind the neurodegenerative disease ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, researchers say.
The challenge involved people pouring ice-cold water over their heads, posting video on social media, and donating funds for research on the condition, whose sufferers include British physicist Stephen Hawking.
Millions of people worldwide took part in the challenge in 2014, attracting more than 400 million views on social media.
The challenge raised $220 million US worldwide, according to the Washington-based ALS Association.
News of the gene discovery again sent Ice Bucket Challenge viral, proving one of the top trending topics on Twitter on Wednesday.
The money funded the largest ever study of inherited ALS and identified a new gene, NEK1, that ranks among the most common genes that contribute to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the ALS Association said in a statement.