Billionaire Bill Gates to donate $100m to fight tragedy of Alzheimer's

Billionaire Bill Gates to donate $100m to fight tragedy of Alzheimer's

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has set his sights on solving a new problem: Alzheimer's disease.

Rather going through his usual philanthropic route, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates says this investment is a personal one.

The fund raised by Gates will be invested in the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), which is highly ingenious fund supported by the Government of United Kingdom, Alzheimer's Research UK and world's seven major biotech and pharmaceuticals companies. He immersed himself in the field to fully understand the progress that has been made so far, and consulted researchers, academics, funders and industry experts to learn more about the degenerative brain disease.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. Current medications can only ease some of the symptoms, at best.

Mr. Gates said he is optimistic about finding a treatment with focused and well-funded innovation.

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The number of people suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia has increased in recent decades, taking an emotional and financial toll on patients and their families, Gates added.

He said, "It'll take probably 10 years before new theories are tried enough times to give them a high chance of success".

The five areas include: getting a better understanding of the underlying causes of the disease and its biology; detecting and diagnosing Alzheimer's earlier; developing more approaches to stopping the disease; making it easier for people to enroll in clinical trials; and using data more efficiently. "I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some powerful drugs, but it's possible that won't be achieved". This fund will be followed up with additional $50 million, which will be doled out for start-up projects working on research study of Alzheimer's disease.

"I know how very bad it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity". He says the Gates Foundation might consider how to expand access in poorer countries when treatments are developed.

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