July 27, 2016


Ice Bucket Challenge Helped Fund Important Discovery of ALS-Related Gene

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Remember that awesome ice bucket challenge from two years ago, which included tons of your favorite celebrities? Well the charitable cause to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, has made an incredible breakthrough.

The ALS Association announced that the donations from the challenge helped scientists discover an ALS-related gene (NEK1) that will assist in therapy development. In other words, we're another step closer in figuring out how to cure the disease. The fund, which was pushed by social media, raised $115 million in eight weeks. One million went to Project MinE, a University of Massachusetts Medical School endeavor, which found the gene.

Dr. Lucie Bruijin said in the statement:

"The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE's work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result."

Celebrities like Britney SpearsRihannaAdam LevineDrakeDemi Lovato and dozens of others participated in 2014's freezing challenge. Viral moments in pop culture usually get a bad rep, so it's incredible to see something like this make such a big difference that will help people in need.

Flash back to the ice bucket days with radio personality Rude Jude struggling through it: