If for the last three years you were living under a rock, you might not have heard of the ALS ice bucket challenge. In this challenge people took it upon themselves to drench in ice cold water as a way to raise money for research. Although many remember the challenge for watching the hilarious reactions of the celebrities and millions of common folk in videos where ice cold water is dumped on them, the viral campaign raised more than $115 million. At the time many were skeptical of the campaign and the waste of water.

You will be surprised to know that what some called a silly stunt has led to a breakthrough for ALS. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have identified and isolated the gene which is responsible for causing ALS. The goofiness seems to have paid off as this step is a milestone in defeating the life-crippling disease which has afflicted so many human from the likes of Steven Hawking to the NFL legend Steve Gleason.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease which progresses over time and attacks the nerve cells present in the brain and the spinal cord, which retards bodily functions like moving, speaking, and even breathing. Slowly and painfully, ALS kills. Currently, there is no cure but the isolation of the gene through expensive process such as developing biorepositories and biosamples of ALS gives hope that this landmark discovery will pave new avenues for the development of a cure soon.