From Ice Bucket Challenge to spending bucket challenge as the counting is over and the ALS Association announced millions of dollars in turnover.
The viral Ice Bucket challenge that implied pouring a bucket of ice-frozen water over yourself spread like wildfire, making support of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other causes popular causes around the world.
17 million took on the Ice Bucket Challenge and across the U.S. 2.5 million people raised 115 million dollars, poured in the ALS association fund. So, rejoice all good-doers for your dose of fun turned into budget for ALS research, covering:
-patient and community service,
-public and professional education,
-external processing fees.
Also, the largest chunk of the funds goes to ALS treatment research, of which little is currently known. About 67 percent of the funds was designated by the ALS Association for treatment research.
For the time being, ALS cannot be cured. Treatment is limited to one drug which at best prolongs the lifespan of those affected, yet it offers no hope of reversal. With ALS, nerve cells in the patient’s brain are damaged, as well as in the spinal cord. With the consequent damage to the nerves, the muscles are failing and can no longer support a body. Soon, organ failure ensues and death follows.
Therefore, constant research into ALS is crucial, particularly with regards to therapies, drugs and overall treatment. For instance, one of the projects targeted by the ALS Association is looking into whether a drug that is commonly used for stabilizing a patient’s heart rhythm could also be prescribed to stabilize the nerve cells of ALS patients.
Stem cell research also made it to the list, with a mere 5 million dollars assigned to Neurocollaborative, that is looking into applying stem cell science to replicate the nerve cells of ALS patients. Genetic coding also holds great promise for ALS patients. Thus, 2.5 million dollars are going to the New York Genome Center, while 1 million dollars has been budgeted for Project MinE.
Hopeful, Doctor Jonathan from Project MinE, stated:
“Right now we have very few things that we can do for these patients to keep them alive longer. If we can take a disease that kills you in three years and make it a chronic disease that you live with for 10 to 15 years, I think we’ve done something very big.”.
Projects nationwide hold great promise for better understanding ALS and finding different strategies for the treatment and maybe even cure of the lethal disease. Alongside the bigger projects, another 58 smaller grant winners will receive funding amounting to 40,000 to 50,000 dollars.
Thus, Ice Bucket Challenge fulfilled its purpose. Thanks to the 17 million people that participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, ALS patients have a hope.
Photo Credits qz.com