A Cure for ALS Might Be on the Way, and It’s Because of the Ice Bucket Challenge

A Cure for ALS Might Be on the Way, and It’s Because of the Ice Bucket Challenge

The whole Ice Bucket Challenge thing was as much about vanity as it was charity. It mostly took off because people liked posting videos of themselves getting drenched in ice water on Facebook.

But it raised over $100 million, and it looks like that money might have ALREADY made a huge impact.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University now think they might be on their way to finding a CURE for ALS.

In a study published this month, they said they think they’ve figured out how a protein called TDP-43 might be responsible for the disease.

And they were able to do the study because of the Ice Bucket Challenge donations.

Basically, the protein clumps up inside the neurons of people with ALS, as well as 45% of people with a type of dementia called FTD, but scientists didn’t know why it mattered.

The new study found that TDP-43 is supposed to prevent cells from using the wrong genetic information to make other proteins. But it stops working when it clumps together, so the cells malfunction and die.

Now, it could be years before they figure out how to stop that from happening, so this might not help people who are currently suffering from ALS. And they want people to keep donating, because they’ll need more funding going forward. But they think this could eventually lead to a treatment, or even a cure.

 

 

(HopkinsMedicine.org / Science / Washington Post)