News in Brief

Breaking the ice: Challenge leads to scientific discovery

Money generated from the Ice Bucket Challenge enabled researchers to identify another gene that contributes to ALS.

Remember all those buckets of ice-cold water people raised over their heads for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Turns out those videos dominating our social media feeds in 2014 helped facilitate a breakthrough discovery.

Researchers have identified another gene, NEK1, that contributes to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This discovery could lead to a potential new target for treatment, the ALS Association announced last week.

The research, published in Nature Genetics, is part of Project MinE—an international effort to sequence the genomes of 15,000 people with ALS and find a cure for this neurodegenerative disease. The project received $1 million in funding from Ice Bucket Challenge donations, according to news reports.

This month, the ALS Association is launching a new campaign, Every Drop Adds Up, to continue raising awareness and funds for ALS research.