WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - A UMass Medical School study has successfully treated ALS research patients with gene silencing therapy.

The unique study is the first of its kind to safely treat those living with ALS by targeting specific genes associated with the disease and suppressing them.

Around 30,000 people in the United States are living with ALS.

John Frates, father of the late Pete Frates, who inspired the virtual Ice Bucket Challenge, said researchers and doctors at UMass Medical are giving hope to those fighting to find a cure.

“So these brilliant minds and doctors that we all know and respect and love, they’re giving hope to our community and that’s everything that Pete would have wanted,” Frates said.

This research was partially funded by the money raised from the wildly popular ice bucket challenge.

“To hear that this news is coming about through his direct action. You know, he and his buddy Pat Quinn who has ALS just hoisting ice water over their head it’s creating all this ice storm of funds and awareness. How great is that?” Frates said.

As of now, the average survival time for patients with ALS is three to five years. But, with this study, researchers at UMass Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital are hoping to change that.

“I knew that this day would be coming because it would happen in my lifetime and thankfully it’s closer to reality than ever,” Frates said.

The therapy will be taken into a placebo-controlled environment next.

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