Joining the fight against Alzheimer's, Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Monday announced a $50 million Dementia Discovery Investment Fund from his personal wealth to find a cure for the brain-wasting disease.
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates talks with a colleague before the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. May 6, 2017.
Mr. Gates said in his blog post that while men in his family suffer from Alzheimer's, his personal connection to the disease is not the only reason for the investment.
Despite scientific research for decades, there is no treatment that slows the progression of the disease, as current drugs can not do any more than to ease some symptoms. Existing drugs can only ease some of the symptoms.
Gates says that he is hoping to fund innovative ideas for treatments that aren't now being tested by the pharmaceutical industry.
"It'll take probably 10 years before new theories are tried enough times to give them a high chance of success". Therefore, he added it was very hard to guess when effective treatment might finally be developed. I believe we can do the same (or better) with Alzheimer's. Another $50 million will follow for several startups working in research for Alzheimer's said Gates.
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.
Of the total sum, around half is set to be donated to the Dementia Discovery Fund, while the rest will go to other organisations, focusing on new approaches to Alzheimer's research.
My family history isn't the sole reason behind my interest in Alzheimer's. I know how very bad 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", he said in a blog post about the dementia investments.
It takes a growing emotional and financial toll on people suffering from this disease.
Dementia, which Alzheimer's is the most common type, affects almost 50 million people globally and by 2050 it is expected that that over 131 million will be affected. This would make it easier for researchers to look for patterns and identify new pathways for treatment, he said.
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