Hamburg – 25 August 2014: On Friday, the motor neuron research group took on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to help raise awareness for this rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease. Afterwards, they challenged members of Evotec’s Management Board to also take on this challenge. Furthermore, Evotec collected donations to be transferred to the ALS Association. Click on this link to watch the video.
Since September 2013, Evotec scientists and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have been working on the CureMN collaboration aiming at identifying compounds that prevent or slow down the loss of motor neurons, which is characteristic of the human disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“ALS”). For further information on this cooperation, please click on this link.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“ALS”) – also referred to as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease in some part of the United States – is a debilitating disease with varied etiology characterised by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, muscle spasticity, difficulty speaking (dysarthria), difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and difficulty breathing (dyspnea). ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron diseases. The disorder induces muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body caused by the degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Unable to function, the muscles weaken and atrophy. Individuals affected by the disorder may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel sphincters and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually, but not always, spared until the terminal stages of the disease. The majority of people with ALS die within 3-5 years from the onset of the symptoms; only about 10% of the people with ALS survive for 10 years or more. ALS mainly affects people between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. Generally, ALS is 20% more common in men than women. The incidence of ALS is 2 per 100,000 people and there are about 150,000 patients diagnosed with ALS worldwide.
ABOUT THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
The Ice Bucket Challenge is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. It went viral throughout social media during mid 2014. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and challenging others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated people comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation to the ALS Association. (Source: Wikipedia)