Boston, MA. – Thanks to 1.2 million videos posted and 15 million Facebook interactions resulting in $121 million dollars raised, researchers from UMass Medical School announced this week they discovered a new gene linked to ALS, NEK1, and could potentially lead to new drug therapies for the disease.

The Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC), which started in the summer of 2014 by former Boston College Baseball captain, Pete Frates, quickly took social media by storm and lead to one of the most successful social media philanthropic campaigns of all time. The money raised through the IBC efforts helped 80 researchers from over 11 countries collaborate which lead to the discovery of NEK1.

Why this matters:

This is profound on many levels – of course the first being the discovery of a new gene associated with ALS and the potential therapies in the future. By leveraging something like social media (a free application for all) and involving human interaction has shown time and time again the power of raising awareness. It is amazing to witness the simplicity of pouring ice on one’s head lead to bringing together researchers from all over the world for science.

Article Credit: John Mucha – SVP, Digital Strategy, GSW

About the Author:

As Strategist of Innovation, Drew is charged daily with championing innovative thinking and doing. Drew is part of a global team that leads new innovative ideas that attract different advocates among existing and potential brands that are shared across all agency partners. Drew is backed by over 16 years of brand, sales and marketing experience with Fortune 500 companies such as Progressive and Nationwide Insurance as well as Founder & President of his own healthcare insurance agency for 6 years. Most recently Drew was part of the agency team that launched Briviact for UCB, Foundation Medicine as well as key roles with Eli Lilly Oncology and Johnson & Johnson.