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

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

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is ready for his next endeavor: joining the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2016.

The progress of the disease cannot be slowed with current treatments, which at best can only ease the symptoms.

Gates said he was investing $50 million in the London-based Dementia Discovery Fund, a private-public venture that supports innovative research into dementia. He also hopes that research will soon deliver better diagnostic tools, like a quick blood test, that can detect the disease sooner.

Till now Bill Gates foundation is known to work in the diseases such as malaria, HIV, and polio.

"This fact-that people are living longer than ever before-should always be a wonderful thing", Gates said on his blog.

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Gates says that he is hoping to fund innovative ideas for treatments that aren't now being tested by the pharmaceutical industry.

The DDF, which in 2015 was launched and involves Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Biogen Idec and GlaxoSmithKline along with the government of the United Kingdom, has invested in nine startups that investigate the possible ways of stopping or of reversing the processes biologically that lead to dementia. Gates will also donate another $50 million in startups working in Alzheimer's research.

The philanthropist, whose usual focus is on infectious diseases in poorer countries, said Alzheimer's caught his interest partly for personal reasons, and partly because it has so far proved such a tough nut to crack.

"My personal experience has exposed me to how hopeless it feels when you or a loved one gets the disease", he writes. This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer's.

The economic burden is estimated at $259 billion annually, according to the Alzheimer's Association, and more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. People should be able to enjoy their later years - and we need a breakthrough in Alzheimer's to fulfil that.

The philanthropist, whose focus usually involves infectious diseases in poorer countries, said that Alzheimer's took his attention for personal reasons in part, and because it has been so hard to find any treatment. This would make it easier for researchers to look for patterns and identify new pathways for treatment, he said.

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