IT seems incredible that one of the main barriers in tackling Britain’s biggest killer could be a lack of funding.

So it is hugely welcome that Bill Gates has announced he will invest up to $100 million (£75 million) into new research and treatments for Alzheimer’s.

Large-scale funding is necessary to uncover causes of the disease, to discover new therapeutic targets and to train new researchers to specialize in Alzheimer’s disease.

The funding will support start-ups to explore less mainstream approaches to treating dementia.

At the moment these areas have been unexplored because research emphasis has been on these most obvious changes in protein accumulations.

But a number of recent trials to remove or limit deposition of these proteins have been expensive failures so new directions are definitely needed.

Gates has said he wants to support brilliant minds doing this novel work and here at the University of Sussex, we have a small network of “brilliant minds” pooling their diverse expertise working towards understanding and treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Having access to a substantive injection of funds from the world’s richest man would make a massive difference to the work that we do.

We could still be decades away from a cure but an investment of this scale will shorten that timeframe.

Professor Louise Serpell is a co-founder of the Dementia Research Group at the University of Sussex