Ice Bucket Challenge: Funds find their way to ALS research in Huntsville

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The sound of icewater dousing donors sounds a lot like a future for researchers in one HudsonAlpha lab.

They spend their time pouring over genetic code, searching for something that stands out in ALS patients.

But labs like these don’t come cheap, and funding doesn’t come easy.

ALS Researcher Brittany Lasseigne explains, “We get a large portion of our money from grants, so NIH grants and things of that nature. We also apply to private foundations for a lot of money to try and fund some of these different projects.”

The ice bucket challenge funds groups that fund patient care, but as Lasseigne notes, “They also make that money available for labs like ours to write and get our projects funded.”

This charitable cause has drawn in thousands of young people on both sides of the equation.

“As a young researcher, that’s really key for me,” Lasseigne adds, “Because when you’re a young researcher and you’re trying to make your way in the research world and get funded and get your ideas funded, it’s great to know that the public is supporting this kind of research.”

So all those ice bucket challenge donations, they fund labs a lot like this.

Lasseigne explains what they do, “Myself along with several researchers here at HudsonAlpha are working to look at the genomes of thousands of ALS patients and compare them to the thousands of people who don’t have ALS.”

The data dancing across her computer screen could change the rest of the research done on ALS wholesale.

She elaborates on the disease, “It’s almost like your wiring has gone bad in your body. And so one of the things that we’re doing here is to try and look at all of the genes in a person and understand which genes might be causing this wiring to go bad and maybe identify new drugs that might be able to target those.”

Lasseigne thinks that labs, with proper funding, could crack the code  and create a drug within the next decade.



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