Bill Gates Commits $100 Million for Alzheimer's Fund and Startups

Bill Gates investing $50M into research for Alzheimer's cure

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

Bill Gates had been investing around $50 million in Dementia Discovery Fund, which is a private-public research partnership which focuses to find the cure of major brain diseases.

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

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.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has a long track record of supporting research to eradicate diseases like malaria and polio.

At least 5 million people in the USA are living with Alzheimer's and that number could grow to 16 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Humans have a almost 50 percent chance of developing Alzheimer's if they live into their 80s, and scientists have yet to find the cause of the disease, Gates wrote on his blog.

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

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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.

The other $50 million will go to startup companies pursuing "less mainstream" approaches to treating the disease, although the companies have not been chosen yet, Reuters reported. That's, in part, because it's personal.

Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia.

"Some of the men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer's, but I wouldn't say that's the sole reason" (for this investment)", he added.

"A person with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia spends five times more every year out-of-pocket on health care than a senior without a neurodegenerative condition", he wrote. Before 2050, the total number of dementia casesis expected to hit 130 million, about 30 million in countries that aren't yet wealthy.

"My personal experience has exposed me to how hopeless it feels when you or a loved one gets the disease", he writes.

As people continue to live longer, Gates says on his blog, the more at risk they are for developing diseases like Parkinson's or arthritis. This would make it easier for researchers to look for patterns and identify new pathways for treatment, he said.

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