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ALS #IceBucketChallenge Leads To 'Significant Gene Discovery'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Well, if you thought it was just a crazy internet stunt, think again.

Back in 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge became a viral internet sensation, attracting thousands of followers while raising awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and funds for research.

Thousands using the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge joined the movement, posting videos of themselves having buckets of ice water dumped on themselves.

In all, $115 million was raised for ALS research. That money has funded six research projects, one of which has found NEK1, a new gene that contributes to the disease.

On Monday, the ALS Association announced the breakthrough. It called it a "significant gene discovery," one that will provide scientists with another "potential target for therapy development."

"The discovery of NEK1 highlights the value of 'big data' in ALS research," said Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., M.B.A. "The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available."

Click here for more information on the finding.

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