In a blog post published t0day (Nov. 13), Gates announced that he'd be donating $50 million from his personal funds to the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture-capital organization that works with both the United Kingdom government and drug companies to look for novel approaches to tackle the most common form of dementia.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2016. But Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common form of dementia that progressively affects memory and other brain functions, is the first noncommunicable disease he's fighting.
"In the first example of its kind in dementia, the DDF has now brought together funding from the private sector, charity and industry, and we're especially pleased to get so much interest from the U.S. in a British fund", said Kate Bingham, Managing Partner of SV.
Bill Gates continues his generosity with a big investment in Alzheimer's research.
"It's a bad disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones", Gates wrote in his blog post.
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 second will go to "less mainstream" start-up ventures working in Alzheimer's research Gates told Reuters. That's, in part, because it's personal.
"The first Alzheimer s treatments might not come to fruition for another decade or more, and they will be very expensive at first", he said. This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer's. I know how terrible 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.
"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.
Through his investment, Gates said, he hopes to help make progress in better understanding the disease, detecting and diagnosing it sooner, and finding ways to keep it from progressing.
The multi-billionaire philanthropist said finding treatment for Alzheimer s, which affects almost 50 million people worldwide, was particularly urgent since improved medical care meant people were living longer.
Alzheimer's - a progressive form of dementia that destroys memory and other mental functions - affects over 5 million people in the US according to the Alzheimer's Association.
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