The Best Celebrity Reactions to the Ice Bucket Challenge ALS Breakthrough

Savannah Guthrie dumps ice water over co-anchor Matt Lauer's head in archival footage from the NBC show.
Today's Matt Lauer got help from co-anchor Savannah Guthrie while taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. (Image: Today/NBC)

Remember that Ice Bucket Challenge trend that happened in 2014? Well, it worked — again!

Scientists have attributed the emergence of an important ALS breakthrough in part to the money raised by celebrities being doused with water.

The ALS Association issued a statement heralding the news: "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Lead to Significant Gene Discovery: Largest-ever study of inherited ALS identifies new ALS gene, NEK1."


What Is ALS?

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and "is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord," the organization explains.

What starts as a loss of muscle movement progresses to paralysis and death usually within two to five years.

The discovery by Project MinE was led by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. The findings allow researchers to target NEK1, which is now considered one of the most common genes that contribute to the disease, in developing ALS therapies.

Social Media Celebrates ALS Breakthrough News

Among the famous faces hailing the breakthrough were "Song of Ice and Fire" author George R.R. Martin, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, former Teen Wolf actor Charlie Carver, Constantine actor Matt Ryan, HLN's Michaela Pereira, as well as a good number of other national and local media personalities.

"All those buckets of ice may have helped put the freeze on ALS," Martin wrote on his blog. "No, it's not a cure... but it's one battle one in the war against a truly horrible disease. And I am so pleased that my friends and I could do our tiny little bit, with all the others around the world, in bringing this about."


About the Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge, a summer 2014 fundraising campaign in which untold numbers of famous people and regular Joes were filmed having buckets of ice water dumped over their heads, raised over $100 million in donations over a 30-day period in summer 2014, according to the ALS Association. In October that year, the organization put $21.7 million toward six programs to find a cure, and $12.5 million in matching donations brought the total funding to $34.2 million.

The organization also funds programs to help people living with ALS, supports public education and pursues public policy and advocacy initiatives.

Of the total raised, $1 million went to Project MinE, the first and largest genome sequencing program, which involved 16 countries. The ALS Association Georgia Chapter, The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter and New Amsterdam City Swim also contributed funding to Project MinE.

"From previous studies, we know that NEK1 functions in multiple roles in neurons (i.e. cells of the brain) including maintaining the neuron’s cytoskeleton, which gives it its shape and promotes transport of molecules within it," wrote Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., M.B.A., chief scientist of The ALS Association, in a blog post.

"It also has roles in regulating the membrane of the mitochondrion, which is the machine that supplies energy to neurons and helps repair DNA that was damaged within. Importantly, all of these cell functions have been found to contribute to ALS in some way and represent potential drug targets. With today’s announcement, we can confirm the association between mutations in NEK1 and ALS."

Funding from the Ice Bucket Challenge also contributed to two previous discoveries.

What Do YOU Think?

Have you known anyone who suffered from ALS? Does the news of the Ice Bucket Challenge's effectiveness encourage you to make more charitable contributions? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.