Bill Gates makes $100 million personal investment to fight Alzheimer’s

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London : 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.

The investment is a personal one and not part of Gates’ philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be followed by another $50 million in start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research, Gates said.

With rapidly rising numbers of people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the disease is taking a growing emotional and financial toll as people live longer, Gates told Reuters in an interview.

He said that It’s a huge problem and the scale of the tragedy even for the people who stay alive is very high.

Despite decades of scientific research, there is no treatment that can slow the progression of Alzheimer‘s. Current drugs can do no more than ease some of the symptoms.

Gates said that with focused and well-funded innovation he optimistic treatments can be found, even if they might be more than a decade away.

It’ll take probably 10 years before new theories are tried enough times to give them a high chance of success. So it’s very hard to hazard a guess (when an effective drug might be developed).

I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some powerful drugs, but it’s possible that won’t be achieved.

Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form, affects close to 50 million people worldwide and is expected to affect more than 131 million by 2050, according to the non-profit campaign group Alzheimer’s Disease International.

Gates told Reuters the additional $50 million would be put into start-ups working on some less mainstream approaches to the disease, but said he had not yet identified these companies.

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.

Alongside the $50 million investment in DDF and the additional $50 million planned for start-ups, Gates said he would like to award a grant to build a global dementia data platform. This would make it easier for researchers to look for patterns and identify new pathways for treatment, he said.

Source : Reuters

 

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