Remember the ice bucket challenge? Well, guess what? The charity fundraiser condemned by many as “slacktivism” has just funded a major breakthrough in ALS research.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Project MinE has just identified the gene that is responsible for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or Motor Neuron Disease). This game-changing discovery, published in Nature Genetics, was possible thanks to the 1 million USD that was donated to scientists at the university from the Ice Bucket Challenge. More than 5,000 people each year are diagnosed with ALS in the U.S alone, and the discovery of the gene in question (named NEK1) could lead to a better understanding of, and treatment for, ALS.

“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled us to secure funding from new sources in new parts of the world,” said Bernard Muller, founder of Project MinE and an ALS patient. “This transatlantic collaboration supports our global gene hunt to identify the genetic drivers of ALS.”

More info: UMASS |

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge back in 2014?

Image credits: Mr.Gregor

Millions of people took part to help raise money and awareness for ALS, otherwise known as  Lou Gehrig’s disease

Image credits: thegatesnotes

Well, some of the $100+ million USD raised from the initiative has just helped scientists to make a major breakthrough in ALS research!


Image credits: Broadimage/REX

They’ve finally identified the gene that causes ALS. It’s called NEK1

Image credits: Nature

Many people, including Stephen Hawking, suffer from ALS. Most people die within 2 to 5 years of diagnosis but Hawking has a rare form of the disease

Image credits: Lwp Kommunikáció

ALS attacks the body’s nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. There is currently no cure but discovering NEK1 is a huge step forward

Image credits: nursingcrib