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