ALS Canada and Brain Canada award $4.5 million in research funding; nearly $20 million invested in ALS research in Canada since 2014's Ice Bucket ChallengeTORONTO, Nov. 23, 2016 /CNW/ - The ALS Society of Canada (ALS Canada), in partnership with Brain Canada, today announced $4.5 million in funding for nine new ALS research projects. This means that since the Ice Bucket Challenge became a social media phenomenon in 2014, nearly $20 million has been invested in Canadian ALS research at a time when it has the potential to make the greatest impact. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a disease that gradually paralyzes the body, leaving people without the ability to move, talk, swallow and eventually breathe. Most people die within two to five years of being diagnosed with ALS because the disease has no effective treatment or cure. However, ALS research has advanced to a point that many ALS research experts believe effective treatments are now a matter of 'when' not 'if.' "We hear often from people and families living with ALS that the promise of research discovery is something they can be hopeful about. The challenge is that research takes time, which is exactly what people living with ALS don't have - and why the Ice Bucket Challenge has been such a game-changer," said Tammy Moore, CEO of ALS Canada. "Because of the increased funding that the Ice Bucket Challenge has made available, we have been able to make more significant research investments than ever before. We are grateful to Canadians who donated to the Ice Bucket Challenge, to our ALS Society partners across the country and to Brain Canada and the federal government's Canada Brain Research Fund for making this research investment possible." " Brain Canada's partnership with ALS Canada has enabled greater investment in ALS research, which will in turn accelerate progress towards the development of effective treatments," said Inez Jabalpurwala, President and CEO, Brain Canada Foundation. "In addition, the discoveries that will result from this research funding have the potential to inform how we approach other neurodegenerative diseases with similar underlying mechanisms." The nine projects include two large-scale, multi-year team initiatives - one of which is using stem cell technology to better understand and potentially treat ALS, while the other is studying in a new way the gene most commonly linked to ALS development - and seven smaller studies that enable investigators to explore out-of-the-box research.