Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Bill Gates made a big investment to fight Alzheimer's

Bill Gates made a big investment to fight Alzheimer's

Another $50 million will follow for several startups working in research for Alzheimer's said Gates.

"It's a bad disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones", the philanthropist wrote Monday on his blog. "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.

"I want to support the brilliant minds doing this work". "I hope I can live a long time without those limitations".

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Drugs aimed at dissolving amyloid plaques that can build up in the brain and strangle neurons have failed to reduce or delay symptoms in people with mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer's disease.

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

Gates is familiar with the impact Alzheimer's has on families, both financially and emotionally.

"People should be able to enjoy their later years - and we need a breakthrough in Alzheimer's to fulfill that", Gates said.

Gates acknowledged that making progress against Alzheimer s would be a long-term project. "If you get the disease in your 60s or 70s, you might require expensive care for decades".

"My background at Microsoft and my (Gates) Foundation background say to me that a data-driven contribution might be an area where I can help add some value", he said.

Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia. I believe we can do the same (or better) with Alzheimer's. He also tells that the disease is found in men in relation to women. It can sometimes take years to enroll enough patients.

The DDF, managed by SV Health, was launched in October 2015 to drive the development and discovery of novel therapies for dementia, formed through a collaboration of seven pharmaceutical companies - Biogen, Eli Lilly and Company, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Otsuka (Astex) - the UK's Department of Health and the charity Alzheimer's Research UK.

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. "So it's very hard to hazard a guess".

He was realistic by adding that he hoped that within 10 years some strong drugs were available, but there is the possibility that will not be achieved.

In fact, Gates' gift is his first major one toward fighting a noncommunicable disease, CNN reported. "The Alzheimer's Association commends Bill Gates for digging in and joining the cause".

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