BitFury Group, the leading bitcoin infrastructure provider and bitcoin transaction processing company today announced that it is donating 100 bitcoins—an equivalent of $50.000—to the Macquarie University ALS/MND Research Centre.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is the clinical name for Motor Neurone Disease (MND). ALS is characterized by the degeneration of the motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. People affected by ALS gradually become paralyzed while their senses remain intact. The nerves that send signals from the brain to the muscles degenerate, so that muscles cannot work. Patients progressively lose the use of their limbs and ability to speak, swallow and breathe. Currently, there is no clear understanding of the mechanism of ALS, no effective treatment and no cure.
The Macquarie University ALS/MND Research Centre will use BitFury’s generous donation to buy a powerful Leica M205FC fluorescent stereo microscope that the center will be using in its search for cure.
Globally, 450,000 people are diagnosed with ALS. Approximately 140,000 new cases are diagnosed worldwide each year—about 384 new cases every day.
“We are thrilled about the donation,” said Dr. Nicholas Cole, senior lecturer and MND research group leader of the Australian School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University. “This is a great partnership,” Cole said. “We partnered with BitFury because the company has a solid reputation. I think that Bitcoin is a different and innovative, yet efficient approach to common issues, perhaps reflecting my own novel approach using zebrafish for ALS research. Previous methods have not yet given us a treatment or a cure, so it is clear that a different approach is much needed.”
The Macquarie University ALS/MND Research Centre’s ultimate goal is to create and conduct research with zebrafish (a vertebrate with a brain, spinal cord and neurons that make muscles contract just like in humans) that have ALS/MND. Once they determine how faulty human proteins affect and kill motorneurons, the researchers can then test compounds and drug libraries to find those that can effectively cure the fish with ALS/MND. These compounds will form the basis of treatment and cure for ALS, which the center hopes to accomplish within five years.
“We are happy to be in a position to lend a helpful hand and donate to a research that can save lives of thousands of people,” said Valery Vavilov, CEO of BitFury. “It felt right for us to support ALS research given the recent passing of Hal Finney, a Bitcoin pioneer, who lost his brave battle with the incurable disease. This is a noble cause and we are pledging our donation in Hal Finney’s name. We’ll help the Macquarie University ALS/MND Research Centre mine for the answers to better understand ALS/MND and, ultimately, find a cure.”