Ice Bucket Challenge leads to ALS gene discovery

Earlier this week researchers announced that the gene NEK1 has been found to play a significant role in the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This landmark discovery is the result of an 11-country research collaboration that was funded through the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The research team included 3 Canadians, one of whom was directly funded by the national ALS Canada research program. Albertans raised a remarkable $2.8 million for the ALS Society of Alberta during the Ice Bucket Challenge, of which $2 million was invested in the national ALS research program.

This finding will trigger future studies that focus specifically on the NEK1 gene. It is a compelling example of how donor dollars can lead to landmark research results, and speaks to the ongoing need to fund ALS research. In Canada, the Ice Bucket Challenge resulted over $20 million of research funding provided by provincial societies across the country. This historic achievement is more than 10 times the typical annual investment!

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