News 27 July 2016
Author: Marisa Lee

The Ice Bucket Challenge ACTUALLY funded an ALS breakthrough!

Author Marisa Lee
27 July 2016

Labelled by many as “slacktivism”, last year’s viral “ice bucket challenge” actually funded a breakthrough for ALS research. Issues were raised when many people who participated didn’t even mention Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the disease which the challenge was supposedly raising awareness of.

Today though, it seems that the viral challenge has led to some uplifting, actually useful news. The “ice bucket challenge” raised over $100m over 30 days and fully funded several research projects.

One of those projects was MinE, a data-driven initiative which was funded by the ALS association, partially through all of our ice bucket challenges. The researchers announced on Monday that they have found a new gene associated with the disease, and experts have said it could lead to new treatment possibilities.

The newly discovered gene named NEK1 is only associated with 3% of ALS cases, but because it’s found in both inherited and suddenly-appearing forms of the disease, researchers believe the discovery has given them a target to develop new treatments.

The results of the challenge are promising, and outline just how useful social media can be for making a difference.