Last fall, Gates announced his plans to invest big in Alzheimer's research. For Gates, not only is it philanthropic, it's personal: his father suffers from the devastating neurodegenerative disease that impacts an estimated 5.7 million Americans. He and others, in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, are investing $30 million to fund a Diagnostics Accelerator that will make early diagnosis possible.
Today, getting tested for Alzheimer's is painful, expensive, and reactionary. There are only two ways to test for it, either spinal tap or PET scan, and most insurance companies will not reimburse for it. Patients are only tested once symptoms are present, long after the disease has already taken hold. What if diagnosing Alzheimer's was as simple as a blood test at your yearly exam? That's what Gates and the others are hoping to develop.
The Accelerator will push new biomarkers through proof of concept studies. Hundreds of biomarker papers have been published and have yet to be validated. Gates hopes that structuring the Accelerator as a venture philanthropy vehicle will help translate research into real offerings for patients, with any financial gains going back into the fund. Some promising biomarkers may be ready in as early as three to five years after completing the regulatory process. LEARN MORE