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

On Monday, Bill Gates, Microsoft cofounder is joining the war of Alzheimer's disease and announced to personally invest $100 million in fund research to develop more treatments for the disease, as Gates said a type of dementia has struck his own family member.

The Dementia Discovery Fund is a venture capital fund that brings together government entities and pharmaceutical companies to advance research and find treatments for dementia.

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

Launched in 2015, the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), is operated by SV Health, a venture capital firm, and focused on finding and creating new alternative therapies to combat the disease, which is expected to affect the lives of 1 million people in the United Kingdom over the next six years.

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.

In his post, Gates explained that he became interested in getting involved with Alzheimer's research because of both the emotional and economic costs.

"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.

"I know how very bad it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity".

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.

The investment is not part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but he did note that when the first Alzheimer's treatments emerge, the foundation could get involved in expanding access to these treatments in poorer countries.

"With all of the new tools and theories in development, I believe we are at a turning point in Alzheimer's R&D", he said. This will not only speed up the progress we make towards finding a cure, but his attention to the cause will also help to eliminate the negative stigma that still exists around dementia to help create a better world for the 50 million people globally who are living with the condition today. That number is expected to grow to more than 131 million by 2050, according to the group Alzheimer's Disease International.

"This is a frontier where we can dramatically improve human life. I'm excited to join the fight and can't wait to see what happens next", said Gates.

Vanessa Coleman

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