By: Chris Weller of Business Insider
Bill Gates is betting big that certain cancer therapies, if manufactured correctly, could help “control all infectious disease.”
“This would be a huge victory for humanity – and potentially a significant market for the life sciences,” Gates said, referring to the prospect of broadly effective immunotherapies.
Since stepping down from his post as Microsoft CEO in 2006, he and his wife Melinda have dedicated their lives to reducing poverty around the world. Infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis remain the top enemies.
The Gates Foundation has spent billions of dollars in grant money to this end, funding companies that research and manufacture disease therapies. In his recent keynote remarks, Gates mentioned a handful of deserving companies that could pave the way for controlling infectious disease.
One of the Gateses’ investments is the company Immunocore, which developed technology that stimulates patients’ immune system. The technology relies on the body’s own immune cells (known as T-cells), essentially reprogramming them, and using them to fight the cancer in a way that is personalized to the patient.
“Initially, Immunocore’s ‘T-cell receptor’ technology targeted cancers, but it could also be applied against infectious diseases,” Gates said.
The Gates Foundation has also taken an interest in gene therapies using a component of the human body known as messenger RNA, or mRNA. Modifying these molecules and injecting them back into the body can produce a stronger immune response. In his address, Gates pointed out that such vaccines would be cheaper, easier, and faster to make than traditional vaccines.