Gates do­nates $130m to fight de­men­tia

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - World -

Bil­lion­aire Mi­crosoft co-founder Bill Gates will in­vest $65 mil­lion in the De­men­tia Dis­cov­ery Fund, a ven­ture cap­i­tal fund that brings to­gether in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment to seek treat­ments for the brain-wast­ing dis­ease.

The in­vest­ment — a per­sonal one and not part of Gates’ phil­an­thropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion — will be fol­lowed by an­other $65 mil­lion in start-up ven­tures work­ing in Alzheimer’s re­search, Mr Gates said.

With rapidly ris­ing num­bers of peo­ple suf­fer­ing from Alzheimer’s and other forms of de­men­tia, the dis­ease is tak­ing a grow­ing emo­tional and fi­nan­cial toll as peo­ple live longer, Mr Gates said.

“It’s a huge prob­lem, a grow­ing prob­lem, and the scale of the tragedy, even for the peo­ple who stay alive, is very high,” he said.

De­spite decades of sci­en­tific re­search, there is no treat­ment that can slow the pro­gres­sion of Alzheimer’s. Cur­rent drugs only ease some symp­toms.

Mr Gates said he’s op­ti­mistic treat­ments can be found, even if they might be more than a decade away.

De­men­tia is ex­pected to af­fect more than 131 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide by 2050.

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