Ice bucket challenge leads to major ALS discovery

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Remember that incredibly popular Ice Bucket Challenge that was all over social media two years ago? It actually led to a breakthrough in ALS research.

According to the ALS Association, a new gene was discovered in a research project that was funded with just some of the money raised.

The NEK1 gene is now believed to be the most common gene that contributes to the disease that attacks nerves and weakens muscles.

The Ice Bucket Challenge helped raise more than $115 million from people around the world who agreed to pour icy water on themselves and post the video on social media to raise awareness.

It was criticized as a publicity stunt by some at the time, but has funded six major ALS research projects.

The ALS Association said a paper published this week in the journal Nature Genetics goes into more detail about Project MinE and the NEK1 gene’s connection to ALS.

It said understanding the gene’s role will help in developing new target therapy for patients.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.