It seems that the Ice Bucket Challenge was useful as the funds raised via the Internet trend helped researchers discover the gene responsible for the development of ALS.
In 2014 there were a number of trends that “broke the Internet.” The Oscar selfie that Ellen DeGeneres posted on Twitter, the giant hat that Pharrell wore in public, and the Ice Bucket Challenge that sent shivers down the spine of every participant.
However, all that ice water did not flow in vain because the money that was raised during the campaign were invested in ASL research. And now, two years later, the ALS Association announced that they had a significant breakthrough.
The disorder causes the gradual deterioration of the nerve cells in the spinal cord and the brain. The patients are given two to five years of life after the diagnosis is confirmed due to the fact that the illness affects their ability to breathe on their own.
One million dollars raised in the Ice Bucket Challenge went to the Medical School Project at the University of Massachusetts. Project MinE was able in less than two years after the internet craze to pinpoint the gene responsible for the apparition of the degenerative disease.
It seems that the NEK1 gene can be used as a target for the development of a functional therapy. This discovery brings scientists one step closer to finding a working treatment for the deadly neurological disorder.
“The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available.”
This is not the first ALS breakthrough funded by the Ice Bucket Challenge. What is even more exciting is the fact that the project is being led by a researcher that was diagnosed with ALS.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was heavily criticized at first. People accused the participants of wasting water and dismissed the action as being a sort of “slacktivism,” also known as lazy activism.
Others stated that the entire campaign was just a publicity stunt for celebrities that wanted to draw attention to themselves and their projects.
However, it seems that some internet trends, even if they start out as a way to attract the public’s eye, are useful in the end. What do you think about the medical breakthroughs funded by the Ice Bucket Challenge? Do you think that more charity actions should take this form?
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