Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Johns Hopkins now claiming a breakthrough in ALS research

Remember when Facebook was drenched in videos of people dumping ice cold water on their heads to support research for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis? It seems the Ice Bucket Challenge was more than just an exercise in temperature tolerance, according to a report by The Washington Post.

The campaign managed to raise $220 million in donations, and researchers at Johns Hopkins are giving those funds partial credit for a recent breakthrough in ALS research.

"The money came at a critical time when we needed it," Philip Wong, PhD, research team leader and Johns Hopkins professor, told The Washington Post.

The research team discovered a way to turn TDP-43 cells — which decode DNA and clump together outside the nuclei of ALS patients' brain cells — back to normal, according to the report. While their findings are not a cure, they could be applied to slow or stop the deadly disease from progressing.

Ice Bucket Challenge funds will cover the cost of experiments in mice and clinical trials on people. Dr. Wong also said diseases like Alzheimer's, muscular dystrophy and inclusion body myositis could also benefit from the findings, according to the report.

 

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