Ice bucket challenge funds lead to discovery of ALS-related gene

FILE Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, right center, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, third from left, participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge (Charles Krupa)

The ALS Association is crediting money raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge for the discovery of a gene they say is among the most common that contribute to the progressive disease.

Those who accepted the challenge allowed buckets of ice water to be dumped on their heads to raise awareness of ALS.

The challenge became a viral sensation in 2014 and raised more than $100 million for the association. Some of that money helped fund a global effort to help find genetic drivers of the condition called Project MinE.

The ALS Association says a paper published this week in the journal Nature Genetics reveals Project MinE researchers have identified the NEK1 gene's connection to ALS. It says understanding the gene's role will help in developing new target therapy for ALS.
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