Bill Gates personally donates $100 million to Alzheimer's research

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Bill Gates has today announced a $50 million investment into the Dementia Discovery Fund, motivated by personal experience of Alzheimer's disease in his family.

Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates talks with a colleague before the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. May 6, 2017. Drugs aimed at dissolving amyloid plaques that can build up in the brain and strangle neurons have failed to reduce or delay symptoms in people with mild to moderate forms of Alzheimer's disease.

The Dementia Discovery Fund will get the first $50 million to help its mission of bringing together government and industry to work on treatments. He also hopes that research will soon deliver better diagnostic tools, like a quick blood test, that can detect the disease sooner.

'Alzheimer's Society wholeheartedly welcomes Bill Gates' significant personal investment to advancing research into Alzheimer's disease.

"It's a awful disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones", Gates wrote in his blog post.

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Alzheimer's - a progressive form of dementia that destroys memory and other mental functions - affects over 5 million people in the USA according to the Alzheimer's Association. Earlier this year biotech investment guru Neil Woodford pledged £15 million (around $19 million) to the fund, becoming its first backer beyond its core of Big Pharma founders (Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Takeda and Otsuka-subsidiary Astex), ARUK and the United Kingdom government.

Bill Gates tells that the treatment for each and every disease are much advanced this time and can provide a long-term cure for every individual. This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer's.

He identified key areas that his investment aims to benefit: understanding how Alzheimer's develops, improving detection and diagnosis, more approaches to stopping the disease, increase access for patients to clinical trials and more availability of established data. That figure could reach 16 million by 2050.

"I know how 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", Gates wrote. Gates says he hopes that drugs to help Alzheimers sufferers will be developed within ten years, but said "it's possible that won't be achieved". "We need a lot of ideas here to give us the highest chance that will lead to an Alzheimer's cure".