Bill Gates is going to invest $100 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund to seek treatment for the devastating brain-wasting disease.
The billionaire Microsoft founder, who is known for his charitable generosity, said he is ‘excited to be joining the fight’ against Alzheimer’s.
Gates has personally invested $50 million – not through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which he says will be followed by another $50 million in start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research.
Watch his video, ‘Investing in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s’ here:
In a blog post on his site, GatesNotes, the businessman said:
The human cost of Alzheimer’s is much more difficult to put into numbers. It’s a terrible disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones.
This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer’s.
I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity, and there is nothing you can do about it.
It feels a lot like you’re experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew.
Gates says we have seen ‘scientific innovation’ turn once-guaranteed killers such as HIV into ‘chronic illnesses that can be held in check with medication’ and says he believes the ‘same – or better’ can be done with Alzheimer’s.
As a first step, I’ve invested $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund—a private fund working to diversify the clinical pipeline and identify new targets for treatment. Most of the major pharmaceutical companies continue to pursue the amyloid and tau pathways. DDF complements their work by supporting startups as they explore less mainstream approaches to treating dementia.
I’m making this investment on my own, not through the foundation. The first Alzheimer’s treatments might not come to fruition for another decade or more, and they will be very expensive at first. Once that day comes, our foundation might look at how we can expand access in poor countries.
I believe that we can alter the course of Alzheimer’s. That’s why I’m investing in the Dementia Discovery Fund. https://t.co/7fcixpeJd5
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) November 13, 2017
Gates said he’d spent ‘considerable time’ over the past year learning about the disease and the progress which has been made to date.
He said there has already been a ‘lot of amazing work’ done in the field to delay Alzheimer’s and ‘reduce its cognitive impact’. Adding he is ‘hopeful’ we can ‘substantially alter the course of Alzheimer’s if we make progress in five areas’.
The five areas are:
We need to better understand how Alzheimer’s unfolds.
We need to detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier
We need more approaches to stopping the disease.
We need to make it easier to get people enrolled in clinical trials.
We need to use data better.
By improving in each of these areas, I think we can develop an intervention that drastically reduces the impact of Alzheimer’s.
There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about our chances: our understanding of the brain and the disease is advancing a great deal. We’re already making progress—but we need to do more.
Gates signed off by saying:
It’s a miracle that people are living so much longer, but longer life expectancies alone are not enough. People should be able to enjoy their later years—and we need a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s to fulfill that.
I’m excited to join the fight and can’t wait to see what happens next.
Hopefully with Gates funding of further research, and promotion to raise awareness of the disease, significant progress in the battle against Alzheimer’s won’t be far away.