The $100 million dollar donation will be separated into two commitments: $50 million will go toward start-up ventures conducting Alzheimer's research while another $50 million will go toward the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital program that unites government and private-sector efforts that focus on medical breakthroughs.
Despite scientific research for decades, there is no treatment that slows the progression of the disease, as current drugs can not do any more than to ease some symptoms. I believe we can do the same (or better) with Alzheimer's.
Gates, in an entry on his blog, said he was making the investment from his personal fortune and not with his charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates' support has already had a positive impact on research being conducted into other diseases so we are delighted that he is now personally uniting in the fight against dementia'.
Humans have a almost 50 percent chance of developing Alzheimer's if they live into their 80s, and scientists have yet to find the cause of the disease, Gates wrote on his blog.
Alzheimer's, said to be the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, affects more than 5 million Americans - a number that is expected to spike to as high as 16 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Additionally, he said he will donate another $50 million to smaller startups researching the disease, although he hasn't named specific companies yet, Reuters reports.
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. That's, in part, because it's personal. Existing drugs can only ease some of the symptoms. This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer's.
"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", he wrote. Gates said progress is needed in five areas, including better use of data and a better understanding about how the disease unfolds. "It's like a gradual death in terms of the person that you knew". He tells that he will take the major steps to cure around 47 million people of the world. "We need a lot of ideas here to give us the highest chance that will lead to an Alzheimer's cure".