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Thread: We Did It! Ice Bucket Challenge Funded Huge Breakthrough

  1. #1
    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Default We Did It! Ice Bucket Challenge Funded Huge Breakthrough

    Ice Bucket Challenge's 2nd anniversary celebrates its gene discovery

    By Farida Fawzy
    Updated 8:59 AM ET, Wed July 27, 2016


    (CNN)Throwback to 2014, the year of the Ellen DeGeneres Oscar selfie, Pharrell's giant hat, and the Ice Bucket Challenge. These fads "broke the internet" (a phrase also coined in 2014) dominating social media feeds across the globe.

    But one of these viral pop culture moments is even more relevant today.

    The campaign that encouraged millions of people to dump buckets of ice-cold water over their heads raised enough money to help make an important research breakthrough, the ALS Association announced Monday.

    The massive, socially-driven fund raising push saw 17 million people posting videos online and a slew of celebrities from Bill Gates to Steph Curry getting soaked to raise awareness for ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease.

    The disease causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to gradually deteriorate. Within two to five years of diagnosis, patients lose their ability to breathe, leading to their death.

    In just eight weeks, $115 million was donated to the ALS Association, 67% of which was dedicated to advancing research for treatments and a cure, the non-profit reports.

    One million dollars went towards Project MinE, a University of Massachusetts Medical School Project that was able to identify a gene that is responsible for the degenerative disease.

    The gene, identified as NEK1, provides another potential target for therapy development, and brings scientists one step closer to treating the neurological disorder.

    "The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available," said Dr. Lucie Bruijin, Chief Scientist at the ALS Association. "The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled The ALS Association to invest in Project MinE's work to create large biorepositories of ALS biosamples that are designed to allow exactly this kind of research and to produce exactly this kind of result."

    This is the third ALS-related gene researchers have discovered using money from the Ice Bucket Challenge, the organization says. The discovery is unique in that the project that found the gene is led by someone who has ALS.

    Despite being heavily criticized for water waste and dismissed as a form of "slacktivism" (lazy activism), many saw the Ice Bucket Challenge as a campaign driven by a passionate community that capitalized on peer-to-peer fundraising and activism.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/27/health/als-ice-bucket-challenge-funds-breakthrough/index.html

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  2. #2
    Elite Member ShimmeringGlow's Avatar
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    This is great news! We're really making progress with some of the world's most deadliest diseases. Money well spent for a change.



    Breakthrough lung cancer drug discovery by Melbourne researchers




    GRANT McARTHUR, HEALTH EDITOR, Herald Sun
    July 25, 2016 9:59am




    Subscriber only



    A BREAKTHROUGH discovery has opened up a potential new drug to stop lung cancer and emphysema as well as detecting the killer diseases much sooner.

    Researchers from Melbourne’s Hudson Institute of Medical Science have identified an inflammation-causing molecule that is responsible for signalling both diseases to wreck their havoc.

    In a major step, the researchers have discovered an existing drug — now in European human trials to fight inflammatory bowel disease — that appears able to shut down the signalling system and offer new hope to the 15,000 Australians who die from the diseases each year.

    Having also developed a blood test capable of detecting increased amounts of the molecule, Interleukin 6, lead researcher Prof Brendan Jenkins said screening may one day be able to detect the diseases before the danger is switched on.

    While increases in Interleukin 6, or Il-6, have been linked to the diseases previously, the six-year work by the Hudson team has uncovered the “trans-signalling” process it uses to drive cell growth in lung cancer, as well as cell destruction in emphysema.

    “The beauty of the two studies we have done is that we have shown that yes, the molecule is increased in the blood and tissue biopsies, but importantly we have shown that if you target Il-6 and block it you will see a suppression of disease in both lung cancer and emphysema,” Prof Jenkins said.

    Hudson Institute of Medical Science lead researcher Prof Brendan Jenkins.
    “Importantly, we have now identified the way of targeting Il-6.”

    German collaborators at the University of Kiel have developed an experimental drug sgp130Fc to target a similar signalling process in inflammatory bowel disease, which has now shown promise during Melbourne animal trials to also act on lung cancer and emphysema.

    The drug contains a naturally occurring receptor that is designed to bind to the Il-6 molecule like a key fitting into a lock. When it does, the molecule is blocked from attaching itself to lung cells and cannot pass on signals to grow of self destruct.

    With Melbourne studies proving “very effective” in halting both diseases in mice, Prof Jenkins is monitoring the European trials in the hope cancer and emphysema trials may be fast tracked.

    “You see a dramatic reduction in the amount of tumours forming — they just don’t seem to grow anywhere near as well as the tumours would if sgp130Fc was not there,” Prof Jenkins said.

    “It is very effective at blocking and retarding the growth of these tumours.

    “The more amazing thing is that if you treat an animal just before they would normally start to develop emphysema, the mice just don’t develop the disease at all. It blocks it completely and there is no emphysema at all.”

    Findings of the lung cancer study were published earlier this, while the emphysema results were published overnight in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

    The Hudson team is now working with Monash Health to analyse more patient blood samples to further develop the blood test for both diseases.



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    Really awesome, exciting news!

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    Elite Member Fly_On_TheWall's Avatar
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    So happy about the breakthrough. My mother died of ALS in 1988 after a three year battle. She weighed less than 50 pounds when she died. The hospital in a small town had never had an ALS patient before. Since my mothers death, there has been at least 7-9 people in the region who have passed from ALS. Something is going on in the region i live. I hope they find a cure soon. It's a horrible way to die.

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    Elite Member stella blue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly_On_TheWall View Post
    So happy about the breakthrough. My mother died of ALS in 1988 after a three year battle. She weighed less than 50 pounds when she died. The hospital in a small town had never had an ALS patient before. Since my mothers death, there has been at least 7-9 people in the region who have passed from ALS. Something is going on in the region i live. I hope they find a cure soon. It's a horrible way to die.
    How heartbreaking. It's a brutal disease. And scary that it could be environmental.

    My uncle died of it when I was 4. I only remember him in a wheelchair, as it was pretty fully advanced by the time I came along.

    Here's hoping this pans out to some real treatment options soon!

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