Ice Bucket Challenge helps MND research in WA

The Ice Bucket Challenge, which resulted in 30,000 Australians being doused with icy water last year, has generated a $1.05 million grant enabling Australian researchers to make big advances in Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Peter Leedman Ice bucket challenge

Professor Peter Leedman was doused  
with icy water for a good cause 

Nigel Laing douses a friend during the ice bucket challenge
Professor Nigel Laing helps a friend with
the ice bucket challenge

Professor Nigel Laing, who heads the Neurogenetic Diseases laboratory at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth, will be part of the largest collaborative MND project ever to be undertaken in Australia, involving 16 researchers.

The consortium, which will be called SALSA-SGC, is to be led by Professor Naomi Wray ofthe University of Queensland’s (UQ) Queensland Brain Institute and Associate Professor Ian Blair, Macquarie University’s MND Research, NSW.

“This funding will allow a comprehensive database to be built analysed using the most up-to-date genetic techniques,” said Professor Laing.

“It’ll give us the best chance of understanding the whole role of genetics in MND and could allow us to finally understand the basis of this lethal disease.”

Professor Laing says Australian patients with MND will donate samples which will be catalogued and analysed. The results are expected to be particularly important for those with the condition known as sporadic MND, meaning they have no family history of the disease.

Recent developments in technology have revealed that people with sporadic MND may have genetic changes that could be risk factors for MND.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was a social media campaign which went viral across the planet in the second half of 2014, raising awareness of the terminal neurological disease, MND, also known as ALS. 

Donations made by participants in the challenge have been used for the grant, which is the largest ever sum to be awarded by the MND Research Institute of Australia Research Committee.

See Channel 7's story. 

Channel Ten news story

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