Many of you probably participated in the ice bucket challenge or know someone who did.
Well, thanks to the funding raised through the challenge, it allows the ALS Association to provide grants for research on the fatal disease.
“The funding really helped us move forward,” KCU researcher Dr. Jingsong Zhou said.
Because of that funding, Dr. Jingsong Zhou and her team, in collaboration with Dr. Jun Sung’s team at the University of Illinois at Chicago, are able to share new research of a disease that impacts nearly 5,000 people a year.
“95 percent of patients cannot survive more than three to five years," Dr. Zhou said.
Their new research shows gut bacteria, and how possible organs outside the nervous system, could be potential factors to the progression of ALS.
“Our study, we basically jump out of the box to think how other organ systems also participate to the nerve cells, the degeneration of this disease,” Dr. Zhou said,
Researchers suggest that using probiotics to restore the balance of gut bacteria, could possibly help with the disease.
Dr. Zhou has been studying ALS for the past ten years. She says while this research is a small step forward in the right direction, there’s still much more that needs to be done.
“It's always a step by step to really understand at the molecular level, at the gene level, at the physiological level so all those things need to be done before we really can put the treatment on the patient,” she said.
KCU states funding for the research came from one of 58 ALS Association grants, totaling $11.6 million, which was raised through the challenge.
Rae Daniel can be reached at Rae.Daniel@KSHB.com.