— Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation set to find cure/ treatments for brain-wasting diseases like Dementia, Alzheimer’s
— Gates invests aside $50 million ‘Dementia Discovery Fund’
Billionaire Bill Gates is to invest $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital fund that brings together industry and government to seek treatments for the brain-wasting disease.
The investment – a personal one and not part of Gates’ philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – will be followed by another $50 million in start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research, Gates said.
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
With rapidly rising numbers of people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, despite decades of scientific research, there is no treatment that can slow the progression of Alzheimer‘s. Current drugs can do no more than ease some of the symptoms.
The Microsoft co-founder Gates said to Reuters in an interview that the disease is taking a growing emotional and financial toll as people live longer. With focused and well-funded innovation, he’s “optimistic” treatments can be found, even if they might be more than a decade away.
“It’s a huge problem, a growing problem, and the scale of the tragedy – even for the people who stay alive – is very high”.
”It’ll take probably 10 years before new theories are tried enough times to give them a high chance of success. So it’s very hard to hazard a guess (when an effective drug might be developed).
“I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some powerful drugs, but it’s possible that won’t be achieved.”
Gates told Reuters the additional $50 million would be put into start-ups working on some “less mainstream” approaches to the disease, but said he had not yet identified these companies.
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.
“I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity … 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.
”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.
Chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society charity, Jeremy Hughes welcomed Gates’ support.
Hughes said in a statement that Gates “significant personal investment” would speed up progress toward a cure and help reduce stigma around dementia: “With Bill Gates now joining all those already united against dementia, there is new hope for advances in the care and cure of dementia.”