Two years later: the ” ice bucket challenge “it worked, all right

A research group funded with money from the 2014 viral phenomenon has identified a gene, NEK1, that could be the key to a future cure

In the end it was not useless to the bucket of ice water on his head, l ‘ “ice bucket challenge” that has marked the summer of 2014, documented 17 million videos on YouTube made the center. Two years later, the original fund-raising campaign launched by the ALS Association of the United States against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has paid off: thanks to the $ 200 million collected (115 in the first six weeks), six were activated programs research involving 80 researchers from 11 countries.

In particular was the Project MinE to get a hit. The group led by the University of Massachusetts and the Utrecht University Medical Center has earned more excellent results, isolating for the first time a gene, the NEK1, involved in neurodegenerative processes that affect patients. The researchers of the Project MinE found that in a sample group of 1,022 people who had inherited ALS, 3% had mutagenic of NEK1.

Understand the operation of NEK1 gene, which contributes to the energy supply of neurons, and repair of DNA, it is a step in the direction of the cure. The causes of ALS remain unknown, but a 10% correspondence has been observed in consanguineous that indicates that the genes are at least partly responsible for the pathology. Italy has contributed to the project with two scientific studies published in the journal Nature Genetics signed by the researchers of the Institute Auxologico, Vincenzo Silanes and Nicola Ticozzi. Thanks to social networks, even in Italy thousands of people had responded to the appeal by agreeing to roversciarsi him, for good, a water and ice bucket. Who could pass the test had to “appoint” others to do likewise. Among many others, also attended by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.