By Chris Gautz

CRAIN’S Detroit Business

Some of the more than $40 million that is said to have been raised by the ALS ice bucket challenge that has swept across the country on social media in the past few weeks could be headed to aid research efforts at the University of Michigan.

“It’s very exciting,” said Eva Feldman, M.D., director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at UM, a Russell N. DeJong professor of neurology and director of the program for neurology research and discovery at UM’s department of neurology.

Feldman said she was approached by the ALS Association Michigan Chapter to prepare a five-page summary of all of her ongoing research into ALS, which will be presented to the national ALS Association.

“They are requesting this,” she said. “Hopefully, the idea is to direct some of the funds for research.”

ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis) is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. It usually leads to death within three to five years. There is no cure.

Feldman and her staff of about 30 have an annual research budget of between $3 million and $5 million, which is a mixture of federal funding, philanthropy and funding from private organizations.

She and other UM scientists took part in the ice bucket challenge themselves last week. The challenge has become a social media phenomenon, with celebrities, politicians and everyday people posting videos of themselves dumping cold water on themselves and then donating to ALS.

They challenged other scientists searching for a cure to ALS to take part, as well as supporters like A. Alfred Taubman to take part in a billionaires’ challenge to help raise money to fight ALS.

Feldman said she will make sure Taubman sees their video and she thinks he will accept the challenge.

“I suspect he may be the first 90-year-old person to put ice water on his head,” she said. “When it comes to biomedical research, he’s all in.”… Read more here.

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