Ice Bucket Challenge leads to discovery of new ALS breakthrough

News 8's Darren Kramer taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (Photo: WTNH/ Darren Kramer)

(WTNH)– In 2014, social media exploded with the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” a viral awareness and fundraising campaign used to help fight against ALS. Now, two years later, scientists discover a new gene linked to ALS.

New York Daily News reports The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Project MinE discovered the gene that’s responsible for ALS.

The gene is NEK1, a gene that could help find ways to understand and treat ALS.

The campaign encouraged people from all around the world to participate and dump ice-water over their heads to raise money.

A total of $115 million dollars was raised that was donated to the the ALS association to advance research for treatments and cures, CNN reports.

“The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available,” said Dr. Lucie Bruijin, Chief Scientist at the ALS Association told CNN. “The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE’s work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result.”

Last year, another breakthrough was made. Researchers at John Hopkins University discovered how a brain protein linked to ALS worked.

In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. The challenge has caught on with notable figures participating in the campaign to raise money for the fight against ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. (AP Photo/Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center)
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. The challenge has caught on with notable figures participating in the campaign to raise money for the fight against ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. (AP Photo/Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center)

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