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Friday, July 29, 2016

Ice Bucket Challenge Leads to Research Breakthrough

In the summer of 2014, a remarkable viral campaign called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge swept across the United States, leaving in its wake both a nation of cold, soaked people and a massive infusion of cash into the ALS Association and other ALS-focused research organizations.

Last year, we asked these organizations to report on the progress they'd made in searching for a cure, and shortly thereafter, the Washington Post reported a research breakthrough at Johns Hopkins University. The researchers responsible for the breakthrough credited the Ice Bucket Challenge money for allowing them to pursue a "high risk, high reward" strategy that led to the breakthrough.

On Wednesday, The ALS Association posted a press release reporting another crucial breakthrough in the fight against ALS. Researchers from Project MinE published a study isolating one of the genes responsible for inherited ALS, which will allow for further study into targeted gene therapy to treat the disease. About 10% of ALS cases are directly genetically based, and scientists consider it very likely they the percentage of cases indirectly linked to genetics is much higher, meaning this research could have far-reaching consequences for the fight to treat and cure ALS.

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