News: NEK1 Gene Breakthrough for ALS



ALSHi,  everyone!!  In the summer of 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge took the internet by storm. It was all over social media.  To many of us by first glance, it just looked like another silly challenge that went viral and would  be popular for a little while and fade like nothing ever happened.  Boy, were we wrong!  The Ice Bucket Challenge had great significance. How a  person’s body reacted to the ice water signifies when the motor neurons in the body die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost.  This disease is called ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.


Over 20,000 people in the United States have some form of ALS whether it be sporadic or familial, familial being  the most common. There is no known cure.   During the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2015 a lot of  awareness was brought to the disease.  It got the attention of millions including prestigious celebrities like Oprah and Bill Gates.  The Ice Bucket Challenge raised 88.5 million dollars in a matter of weeks to fund several research projects.  Among those projects was Project MinE.  Project MinE was the largest research project of genetic ALS to date. 

In March, 2015  researchers for a  science journal thought there maybe a connection between ALS and the NEK1 gene.  But they needed more proof of this before it could  be confirmed.  So Project MinE and Wade Harper, professor at Harvard went to research some more and after many trials found a major breakthrough confirming that  NEK1 was  connected to  ALS.



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