Bill Gates believes Alzheimers research is a turning point and is investing $100 million to accelerate progress

Bill Gates has personally invested $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund—a private fund working to diversify the clinical pipeline and identify new targets for treatment. Most of the major pharmaceutical companies continue to pursue the amyloid and tau pathways. DDF complements their work by supporting startups as they explore less mainstream approaches to treating dementia.

The investment -will be followed by another $50 million in start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research, Gates said.

Bill Gates believes we are at a turning point in Alzheimer’s Research and Development. Now is the right time to accelerate that progress before the major costs hit countries that can’t afford high priced therapies and where exposure to the kind of budget implications of an Alzheimer’s epidemic could bankrupt health systems.
This is a frontier where we can dramatically improve human life. It’s a miracle that people are living so much longer, but longer life expectancies alone are not enough. People should be able to enjoy their later years—and we need a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s to fulfill that. I’m excited to join the fight and can’t wait to see what happens next.

Dementia Discovery Fund—a private fund working to diversify the clinical pipeline and identify new targets for treatment. Most of the major pharmaceutical companies continue to pursue the amyloid and tau pathways. DDF complements their work by supporting startups as they explore less mainstream approaches to treating dementia.

The longer you live, the more likely you are to develop a chronic condition. Your risk of getting arthritis, Parkinson’s, or another non-infectious disease that diminishes your quality of life increases with each year. But of all the disorders that plague us late in life, one stands out as a particularly big threat to society: Alzheimer’s disease.

You have a nearly 50 percent chance of developing the disease if you live into your mid-80s. In the United States, it is the only cause of death in the top 10 without any meaningful treatments that becomes more prevalent each year.

The first Alzheimer’s treatments might not come to fruition for another decade or more, and they will be very expensive at first. Once that day comes, the Gates foundation might look at how we can expand access in poor countries.

Americans will spend $259 billion caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in 2017. Absent a major breakthrough, expenditures will continue to squeeze healthcare budgets in the years and decades to come. This is something that governments all over the world need to be thinking about, including in low- and middle-income countries where life expectancies are catching up to the global average and the number of people with dementia is on the rise.

A person with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia spends five times more every year out-of-pocket on healthcare than a senior without a neurodegenerative condition. Unlike those with many chronic diseases, people with Alzheimer’s incur long-term care costs as well as direct medical expenses. If you get the disease in your 60s or 70s, you might require expensive care for decades.

Bill gates wnat so to make progress in five areas:

1. We need to better understand how Alzheimer’s unfolds. The brain is a complicated organ.

2. We need to detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier. A more reliable, affordable, and accessible diagnostic—such as a blood test—would make it easier to see how Alzheimer’s progresses and track how effective new drugs are.

3. We need more approaches to stopping the disease. Most drug trials to date have targeted amyloid and tau, two proteins that cause plaques and tangles in the brain. I hope those approaches succeed, but we need to back scientists with different, less mainstream ideas in case they don’t. A more diverse drug pipeline increases our odds of discovering a breakthrough.

4. We need to make it easier to get people enrolled in clinical trials. The pace of innovation is partly determined by how quickly we can do clinical trials. Since we don’t yet have a good understanding of the disease or a reliable diagnostic, it’s difficult to find qualified people early enough in the disease’s progression willing to participate. It can sometimes take years to enroll enough patients. If we could develop a process to pre-qualify participants and create efficient registries, we could start new trials more quickly.

5. We need to use data better. Every time a pharmaceutical company or a research lab does a study, they gather lots of information. We should compile this data in a common form, so that we get a better sense of how the disease progresses, how that progression is determined by gender and age, and how genetics determines your likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s. This would make it easier for researchers to look for patterns and identify new pathways for treatment.

3 thoughts on “Bill Gates believes Alzheimers research is a turning point and is investing $100 million to accelerate progress”

    “The researchers found that in brain matter from ten different patients with Alzheimer’s, all of them were infected with fungi. There was no fungi in the brains of ten control patients.”

    It appears that high blood glucose and iron are contributing factors to fungal growth, and that amyloid protein is antimicrobial.

    The comments mention some potential antifungal medications: flucytosine, fluconazole, amphotericin B and voriconazole.

    • I do think Alzheimer’s is a reaction to infection. But I think many pathogens are involved. Leaky gut which often happens in old age can allow E. coli to enter the bloodstream. It think it makes it to the brain in some cases and causes Alzheimer’s. I also think food poisoning is another common cause. One of the best warning signs for Alzheimer’s is a poor sense of smell. If you can’t smell when something has gone bad, then you are much more likely to eat it.
      I think a program to irradiate the food, which is a safe, proven, technology, can save many lives: Most of those lives being elderly. About 5,000 people die from food poisoning in the US every year but a few hundred thousand become sick enough to require hospitalization, and that is very expensive.
      If it also causes Alzheimer’s, then it is a no brainier, and would save billions of dollars. We need this sterilization technology to be used. That is especially true in the case of animal products like meat, dairy and fish/seafood. I am less concerned about produce…maybe mushrooms. Mushrooms go bad so fast. Fruit and veggies it is probably better to either freeze or eat soon. They are generally still alive when they are fresh. That is all the preservation they need. Meat though is dead and has bacteria as all animals do. That bacteria needs to be killed. Cooking is sufficient if done soon…but if it is only one or two elderly people at home, food can be consumed fairly slowly…and you generally cook just before the meal.
      Most spices are already radiated. If they weren’t, they would be full of bugs inside a month.
      I would love to have a machine to irradiate my food. That would be the first thing I would do after I got my fresh chicken home. That does not even last 5 days in a fridge 1 degree from freezing.

      I think there are many conditions caused by pathogens. Doctors take little notice of them if they don’t make you sick right away or multiply in very high numbers.

      Drug companies don’t like it when chronic conditions that they sell treatments for are cured by antibiotics. They lost billions when it was discovered that ulcers were caused by a bacteria. Billions more when lower back pain was discovered to be cause by another bacteria. I think most of the pressure on doctors to stop giving out antibiotics is because pharmaceutical companies don’t want any more accidental cures. The creation of superbugs thing is not completely untrue but, most of that is cause by the antibiotics given to billions of farm animals. There is more than a trivial amount of evidence that diabetes is caused by staph bacteria.

      I think many more things would be accidentally cured if we have more effective antivirals. Mostly antibiotics just kill bacteria. I think viruses cause most of the psychological illnesses. The way natural selection works, suggests that these things would be almost unheard of if they were just genetic…that means the cause is environment. We know many viruses can get in the cerebrospinal fluid and avoid the immune system for decades. And we know there are may statistical associations. Not proof, of course. But there is not a whole lot of motivation to find connections if they exist. Of course the page from Wikipedia was removed that lists some associations: And lot’s more has been found after, like the story you linked too.

      Most people are well antiquated with Down’s syndrome, but how may people have heard of Human Cytomegalovirus? It causes far more retardation. But you never hear about it because they are content to have it continue its expansion infesting everyone. Over half of the US is now infected. It was about 20% in the US 40 years ago. It is one of the many Herpes viruses. They all stay in your system and generally wait for your immune systems to weaken to kill you…and then it is called a lower respiratory disease or pneumonia or something innocuous.

  2. Great. Soon we will be able to remember all the things we never actually did. Sorry I am 70 and increasingly realize that memory is dynamic. What you remember is a combination of YOUR perceptions of what actually happened, continuously modified by your currant points of view… Good luck anyway it’s a good narrative.

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