Bill Gates’ newest mission: Curing Alzheimer’s

Last week Alzheimer’s got a huge boost. Billionaire Bill Gates said he is investing $50 million of his own money into the Dementia Discovery Fund, a private-public research partnership focused on some of the more novel ideas about what drives the brain disease, such as looking at a brain cell’s immune system. It’s the first time Gates has made a commitment to a noncommunicable disease. The work done through his foundation has focused primarily on infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria and polio.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, where a new case is diagnosed every 66 seconds. More than 5 million Americans live with the disease, at a cost of $259 billion a year. Without any treatment, those numbers are projected to explode to 16 million Americans with the disease, at a cost of over $1 trillion a year, by 2050. And for Gates, this mission is personal having people in his family affected by this disease.

With his donation, Gates hopes to spur research into more novel ideas about the disease, like investigating the role of the glial cells that activate the immune system of the brain or how the energy lifespan of a cell may contribute to the disease. He believes that it will be a combination of mainstream and out-of-the-box thinking that will lead to potential treatments in the near future.
For those of us in the Alzheimer’s space, any and all awareness and financial resources are greatly welcomed, but to have a financial and philanthropic powerhouse such as Gates now in the fight, we’re most optimistic.
For the full interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, go here.
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