Ice Bucket Challenge donations funded major ALS discovery

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The Ice Bucket Challenge exploded on social media last year to raise awareness and money for ALS research – and it seems to have worked.

Johns Hopkins scientists said they made a break-through in research that could lead to a cure sooner than later.

The TDP-43 protein had been discovered years ago, but researchers did not understand the role it played in maintaining healthy cells. Now they know when the protein clumps together within cells, it causes a “cascade of events” that leads to the death of brain and spine cells.

“TDP-43’s role in both healthy and diseased cells has long been a mystery, and we hope that solving it will open new pathways toward preventing and treating ALS and FTD,” said Philip Wong, Ph.D., a professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In a YouTube video, Wong and Johns Hopkins ALS researcher Jonathan Ling said the funds raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge allowed them in part to make the breakthrough discovery.

“We’re really excited about this possibility and we want to encourage all of you to continue this Ice Bucket Challenge to really push this work forward,” said Wong.

Ling added, however, that many people currently suffering from ALS likely won’t reap the benefits of this new research.

To donate to the ALS Society of British Columbia, click here.

To see Ling and Wong’s Ice Bucket Challenge, watch the video below:

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.
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