Bill Gates invests $30m on affordable Alzheimer’s test

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As per a news article reported in CNN, Bill Gates announced that he has joined a coalition of philanthropists who are investing $30 million to create a venture fund called Diagnostics Accelerator.

“We need a better way of diagnosing Alzheimer’s — like a simple blood test or eye exam — before we’re able to slow the progression of the disease,” Gates wrote in a statement announcing the investment. “Imagine a world where diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is as simple as getting your blood tested during your annual physical.”

An accurate test is critical, Gates says, because science shows that Alzheimer’s can begin more than a decade before the first outward signs of decline. Yet people today are cognitively tested only when symptoms have progressed to the point at which the disease is affecting daily life. By then, much of the damage is done.

The next steps are spinal taps or imaging tests such as PET scans to identify markers for changes in the brain. Both are extremely expensive, and most insurance plans in the US will not reimburse patients, Gates said.

“Spinal taps can be scary and uncomfortable, and PET scans require the patient to stay perfectly still for up to 40 minutes,” Gates said. “That’s difficult for anyone to do — but especially someone with Alzheimer’s.”

Gates hopes to solve the problems, associated with the disease, using a venture philanthropy fund to marry the best of cutting-edge research with the incentive of a money-making product for “real patients.” If any of the ideas succeed, said Gates, “our share of the financial windfall goes right back into the fund.”

In addition to Gates, the fund is supported by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, created by Estée Lauder billionaires Leonard and Ronald Lauder; the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation; and the Dolby Family, among others.

Read the full article at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/17/health/bill-gates-alzheimers-diagnostic-test/index.html

 

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Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/17/health/bill-gates-alzheimers-diagnostic-test/index.html