By Diagnostics World News Staff
April 3, 2019 | The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Day One Fund, launched by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, have teamed up to donate $15 million to the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) in support of its Diagnostics Accelerator research program. This latest donation brings the total program funding to $50 million since its launch in July 2018.
In a blog post, Bill Gates detailed the reasons a diagnostic is crucial for diseases like Alzheimer's, and why developing one can prove to be a difficult task.
"Discovering a treatment for Alzheimer’s requires lots of clinical trials for new drugs," Gates wrote, "but it’s difficult to enroll participants without a way to identify people who have the disease early enough for potential treatments to work."
Current diagnostic strategies for Alzheimer's include the invasive spinal tap or expensive brain scan.
The Diagnostics Accelerator was created to address the lack of biomarkers that easily and specifically screen and diagnose patients, track and stage disease progression, monitor response to treatment, and improve the rigor and efficiency of clinical trials. According to the ADDF, reliable, affordable, and accessible biomarkers are critical to the development of effective drugs for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's.
"The Diagnostics Accelerator brings together philanthropic capital with a venture investment mindset to advance bold new ideas for easier and more accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias," Leonard Lauder, co-founder of ADDF, said in a press release. "Initially, our goal was to raise $35 million to be spent over the next three years. We have exceeded our goal."
The program is accepting applications for a second round of funding, specifically looking for digital tools to detect Alzheimer's.
"This is a miraculous age for diagnostics," wrote Gates. "As technology gets more advanced and more precise, scientists are making amazing progress in how we pinpoint disease. That deeper understanding is already benefitting Alzheimer’s research, and I’m eager to see what other game-changing diagnostics it unlocks in the years to come."