November 5, 2018
North Shore seniors getting out & about
Bill Gates became interested in Alzheimers because of its costs to families and the health care systems.
He wanted to see the development of an intervention that would drastically reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s and to help support the brilliant minds doing this work.
As a first step, he has 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.
Bill Gates is making this investment on his own, not through the foundation. 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, our foundation might look at how we can expand access in poor countries.
But before we can even begin to think about how we do that, we need lots of scientific breakthroughs. With all of the new tools and theories in development, he believes we are at a turning point in Alzheimer’s R&D. 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. Bill Gates said he is “excited to join the fight and can’t wait to see what happens next”.