Bill Gates commits $100 million to fight Alzheimer's disease

Leslie Hanson
November 13, 2017

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is to invest $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital fund that brings together industry and government to seek treatments for the brain-wasting disease.

It takes a growing emotional and financial toll on people suffering from this disease. "It feels a lot like you're experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew", he wrote. Another $50 million will follow for several startups working in research for Alzheimer's said Gates. This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer's.

At least 5 million people in the USA are living with Alzheimer's and that number could grow to 16 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Gates writes about his own personal experience dealing with loved ones who've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, noting that the human cost "is much more hard to put into numbers". People of all ages are affected, but 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society charity, welcomed Gates' "significant personal investment", saying it would speed up progress toward a cure and help reduce stigma around dementia: "With Bill Gates now joining all those already united against dementia, there is new hope for advances in the care and cure of dementia", he said in a statement.

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.

While most of the major pharmaceutical companies continue to pursue the amyloid and tau pathways, Dementia Discovery Fund will complement their work by supporting start-ups as they explore less mainstream approaches to treating dementia. "Once that day comes, our foundation might look at how we can expand access in poor countries", Gates wrote, explaining how he might look at the issue beyond his personal investment in the future.

This includes better understanding about how Alzheimer's unfolds, need to detect and diagnose Alzheimer's earlier, more approaches to stopping the disease, need to make it easier to get people enrolled in clinical trials and need to use data better.

The announcement is timely, coinciding with National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month in November.

"The human cost of Alzheimer's is much more hard to put into numbers", Gates wrote on his blog .

"People should be able to enjoy their later years - and we need a breakthrough in Alzheimer's to fulfill that", Gates said. And so, you know, I've seen how tough it is.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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