There is no cure for Alzheimer's, which destroys memory and other mental processes, and so Gates said he is investing his own money into the Dementia Discovery Fund, a private-public partnership to search for a solution.
Gates, with his background as the co-founder of Microsoft, believes he can be especially helpful with the data-driven aspect. This would make it easier for researchers to look for patterns and identify new pathways for treatment, he said.
In his post, Gates explained that he became interested in getting involved with Alzheimer's research because of both the emotional and economic costs.
But the disease is not only a growing burden on healthcare systems: the less-quantitative toll on patients' caretakers and families also played a role in Gates' decision.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, Americans will spend $259 billion caring for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias, just in 2017. "It feels a lot like you're experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew", he said in a blog post about the dementia investments.
Gates says that he is hoping to fund innovative ideas for treatments that aren't now being tested by the pharmaceutical industry.
'Alzheimer's Society wholeheartedly welcomes Bill Gates' significant personal investment to advancing research into Alzheimer's disease.
There hasn't been a new drug approved to treat Alzheimer's in more than a decade, and Bill Gates is impatient for a cure.
"Some of the men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer's", Gates wrote, noting that his family history of the disease informed his insights into it but that "isn't the sole reason" why he is setting millions aside for finding treatment.
"With all of the new tools and theories in development, I believe we are at a turning point in Alzheimer's R&D", he said. Additionally, Medicaid payments for Alzheimer's patients are almost three times higher than those for elderly citizens without a form of dementia.
Current figures show that more than 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, which could rise to 16 million by 2050.
"I hope those approaches succeed, but we need to back scientists with different, less mainstream ideas in case they don't", Gates wrote.
Although the number of studies investigating Alzheimer's disease have grown in number over the past decade, scientists have not yet found a conclusive way to battle the disease, which is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's, a rate expected to double by 2050, according to a 2016 study by the Alzheimer's Association. We need to better understand how Alzheimer's unfolds. "I'm excited to join the fight and can't wait to see what happens next".