BREAKTHROUGH

Ice Bucket Challenge Leads to ALS Gene Discovery

The viral “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which encouraged millions of people to dump cold water over their heads nearly two years ago, actually paid off and led to an enormous research breakthrough for the neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). According to the ALS Association, the $220 million raised worldwide funded the largest study of inherited ALS ever, and has identified a new gene, dubbed NEK1. The gene will become a target for gene therapy development. "Global collaboration among scientists... made possible by ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations, led to this important discovery," said John Landers of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.