Following the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge this summer, raising awareness and buckets of cash for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), the ALS Association in the USA says it is tripling its research spend.

Since July, the ALS Association has received more than $100 million in donations and last month, the non-profit organisation announced it was supporting six different programmes and initiatives. Four of the projects involve “global research cooperative alliances that would not have moved forward without the funding from the ALS Association and the matching donations it received”.

In addition, the association has launched a new collaborative initiative that will “incentivise ALS drug development, reduce obstacles and provide new opportunities to accelerate research and bring new treatments from the bench to the bedside”.

Barbara Newhouse, president of the ALS Association, said that thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge, “we now have tremendous momentum in the search for a cure”. She added that “our integrated mission, combined with increased collaboration, is accelerating our ability to move potential treatments through the drug development process and improve the support for people living with ALS at our care centres”.

In the USA, ALS affects one in 30,000 people, with 5,000 new diagnoses each year. There is currently one approved treatment, Sanofi’s now-genericised Rilutek (riluzole).