Bill Gates donates £38 million to help fight Alzheimer's

Former President Obama Speaks At The Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers Event

Bill Gates said he is giving $50 million (£38 million) to help fight Alzheimer's disease.

The billionaire is investing $50 million of his personal money in the London-based Dementia Discovery Fund, which is a private-public collaboration that invests in innovative dementia research.

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.

Although Alzheimer's now has no cure, Gates expressed hope that the course of Alzheimer's can be substantially altered if progress is made in five key areas. "The Alzheimer's Association commends Bill Gates for digging in and joining the cause". Current drugs can do no more than ease some of the symptoms.

"It'll take probably 10 years before new theories are tried enough times to give them a high chance of success". 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.

"I hope that in the next 10 years that we have some powerful drugs", he added, "but it's possible that won't be achieved".

The DDF, which was launched in 2015 and involves drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Biogen Idec as well as the United Kingdom government, has already invested in at least nine start-up companies investigating potential ways to stop or reverse the biological processes that lead to dementia. He plans to invest at least another $50 million into other startups that are working on "less mainstream" approaches, but these have not yet been identified.

"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".

This includes better understanding about how Alzheimer's unfolds, need to detect and diagnose Alzheimer's earlier, more approaches to stopping the disease, need to make it easier to get people enrolled in clinical trials and need to use data better. "It feels a lot like you're experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew", he wrote.

He added that the Gates Foundation might consider how to expand access in poorer countries when treatments are developed.

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