Bill Gates

Microsoft’s billionaire founder Bill Gates has pledged $50m (£38.2m) to a London-based fund seeking to tackle dementia.

Launched in 2015, the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), is operated by SV Health, a venture capital firm, and focused on finding and creating new alternative therapies to combat the disease, which is expected to affect the lives of 1 million people in the UK over the next six years.

Gates explained he was “joining the fight” at an inflexion point in the condition’s study, highlighting a breakthrough was required to allow people to enjoy longer lives.

Current projects by the DDF include pinpointing the role of inflammation and immune cells in the brain as well as the operation of mitochondria on the progression of dementia.

It is thought that 50% of people who reach their mid-80s will develop Alzheimer’s, despite research showing that a third of cases may be preventable if simple lifestyle changes are implemented.

Costs associated with the disease are also on the rise. Two years ago, Alzheimer’s UK estimated the disease cost the UK an estimated £26bn per annum.

The news comes after Gates announced a $1bn global clean tech investment fund last year.

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