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Upcoming HTLV Meetings

HTLV2019 (19th International Conference on Human Retrovirology, HTLV and Related Viruses) in Lima, Peru (April 24-26, 2019)


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International Retrovirology Association



Our Mission

The mission of the International Retrovirology Association (IRVA) is to encourage research in retrovirology, especially the study of human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) infections and the associated diseases, to foster collaborations between research groups, provide a platform for critical analysis of new data, and contribute to the dissemination of knowledge about these infections.


HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 are among the first human retroviruses discovered in the early 1980s. The International Retrovirology Association is an organized effort by scientists and clinicians to form interdisciplinary groups to study these retroviruses and their related diseases. The Association promotes excellent science, patient education, and training of young scientists to promote bench-to-bedside research. The International Conference on Human Retrovirology: HTLV and Related Viruses, sponsored by the Association, supports clinicians and researchers in the exchange of research findings and stimulation of new research directions. Since its inception in 1988, these conferences have provided a highly interactive forum for the global community of HTLV scientists. This is of particular importance as HTLV research enters its third decade and a new generation of scientists takes over this important work. Many of the scientists attending these meetings are from developing countries where HTLV is endemic, consistent with the history of international collaborations that have characterized HTLV research. The International Conference on Human Retrovirology provides a unique opportunity for researchers of all disciplines interested in HTLV infections to meet their peers and to address the questions facing clinicians and scientists who study HTLV and related retroviruses.

Association Beginnings

Albert Einstein said, "the problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them." This belief was part of the foundation of the International Retrovirology Association when it was established in May, 1994. At that time, informal discussions among established HTLV scientists, representing such diverse disciplines as epidemiology, virology, immunology, and clinical medicine, came together at the 6th International HTLV Conference in Absecon, New Jersey. This organized effort, from its beginning, fostered the efforts of scientists and clinicians to form interdisciplinary groups to study HTLV and its related diseases in a cooperative and innovative manner. With the growth of the conference over the next decade, the founders recognized that a professional association was needed to promote shared goals of member scientists and to provide governance and continuity to the international conference and other activities.

History of The International Conference on Human Retroviruses

The Association has evolved since these humble beginnings to now promote research and education in the field of human retrovirology at the international level, including scientific conferences, interdisciplinary research collaborations, and educational exchanges to the study of HTLV and related viruses. The Association has chosen to focus on HTLV and other related human and nonhuman primate retroviruses, in part, because numerous other organizations and conferences already exist to study human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The Association strives to promote excellent science in the field of HTLV and related viruses and to facilitate the communication of scientific results. The Association fosters the education and training of young scientists who will contribute to and expand the field. The Association promotes bench-to-bedside research that translates findings from the laboratory into clinical trials that benefit HTLV-infected patients. In addition, the Association promotes awareness of and education about HTLV and related viruses to non-specialist physicians and the broader public.

HTLVs, Related Retroviruses and Disease Associations

HTLV-1 and the closely related HTLV-2 were among the first human retroviruses discovered in the early 1980s. Both viruses are highly related to simian T- lymphotropic viruses (STLV-1 and STLV-2, respectively), presumably from cross-species transmissions of the simian viruses to humans. The discovery pf HTLV-3 and -4, indicate that cross species transmission may still occur in situations where humans are exposed to nonhuman primate blood. Thus, in this context, the HTLVs are actually members of a broader group of primate T-lymphotropic viruses found worldwide. HTLV-1 is classified as a member of the deltaretrovirus genera and infects approximately 20 million people worldwide. HTLV-1 is the etological agent of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL/L), an aggressive malignancy of CD4+ T-lymphocytes in 1 to 5% of infected individuals and comes in a variety of clinical presentations, but is refractory to most forms of therapy. The virus is also associated with a progressive neurologic disease termed HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) that affects approximately the same number of infected subjects, but rarely concurrent with ATL/L. HTLV-2 does not appear to cause lymphoma or other hematological malignancy, but has been associated with neurologic disease in a small number of infected subjects, and may increase the susceptibility to bacterial infections. HTLV-1 is endemic in Central Africa, the Caribbean, and South America likely due to the slave trade, and southwestern Japan, while HTLV-2 is endemic among indigenous tribes of South, Central, and North America. Both viruses may be transmitted by blood transfusion and the sharing of contaminated injection apparatus, by sexual intercourse, and from mother to child through breastfeeding. Injection drug use, with secondary sexual transmission, has resulted in the spread of both HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 in the United States and Europe. The potential contamination of HTLVs in the blood supply makes them an important public health issue in areas with high prevalence and has led many countries, including the United States and Japan, to screen normal blood donors for these viruses. In addition, the HTLVs serve as models for the epidemiology and pathogenesis of other human retroviral infections such as HIV.

An International Association to Promote Scientific Exchange and Discovery

The International Retrovirology Association accomplishes its goals through a variety of activities. Principal among these is the sponsorship of its biennial general scientific conferences held at rotating international venues, generally in areas with endemic HTLV infection. This unique meeting brings together basic scientists, epidemiologists, and clinical researchers in a free-form exchange of data to discuss approaches to prevent HTLV infection or develop new therapies against HTLV-mediated diseases. The Association also sponsors smaller symposia and regional meetings directed at specific topics such as disease pathogenesis, treatment of HTLV diseases, and regional epidemiology of this group of retroviruses. The group also honors the contributions of leading scientists through endowed awards to leaders in the HTLV research field and promotes partnerships with professional journals to promote the publication of HTLV research and conference proceedings. By funding travel scholarships for the biennial conference to young investigators, the Association encourages the next generation of retrovirologists and physician-scientists. The International Conference on Human Retrovirology HTLV and Related Viruses is a biennial conference that fulfills the continuing scientific need for the exchange of research findings and stimulation of new research directions. Basic scientists who study the molecular biology of HTLVs continue to grapple with the problem of how these viruses cause cancer. They have discovered important clues in this process by studying the viral gene product called Tax, and other factors that support virus replication. The conference also brings together those scientists that seek to understand the pathogenesis of HAM/TSP, which occurs presumably via aberrant immunologic response to the viral infection. The immune-mediated nature of HAM/TSP in infected subjects with particular HLA genotypes suggest important host factors in understanding this disease and provides a comparative model for other neuro-immunologic diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Clinicians and other scientists employing traditional and molecular epidemiologic tools have been reasonably successful at defining important public health issues related to HTLV infections. These discoveries have led to improved preventative measures to block mother to child transmission, better confirmatory test strategies for blood donor screening, and the prevention of HTLV-2 infection among injection drug users. Despite these advances, ongoing clinical and basic research is needed to develop potential HTLV-1 vaccines and for improved treatments for ATL/L and HAM/TSP. The biennial HTLV conference serves as an important stimulus for all of these research areas.

The International Retrovirology Association, through its many varied approaches, aims to encourage research in HTLV infections and disease, foster collaborations between research groups, provide a platform for critical analysis of new data, and contribute to the dissemination of knowledge about these infections. While the biannual scientific meeting has been the cornerstone of the Association's activities, there is increasing recognition of the need for more rapid progress in improving the management of HTLV-associated malignant and inflammatory diseases. The Association is ideally positioned to facilitate this process through its membership.

Contact Us

Toshi Watanabe, President

The Institute of Medical Science Research Hospital, The university of Tokyo
4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 108-8639

Patrick L Green, Treasurer

Professor and Associate Dean,
Research and Graduate Studies
Director, Center for Retrovirus Research
The Ohio State University
1900 Coffey Rd
Columbus, OH 43210-1093

Renaud Mahieux, Secretary

Acting Secretary Luc Willems

Director, Biology Department
CIRI - International Center
for Infectiology Research
Inserm U1111 - CNRS UMR5308
46 allée d'Italie
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon
69007 Lyon
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Click here for latest HTLV publications
1: Caron M, Besson G, Padilla C, Makuwa M, Nkoghe D, Leroy E, Kazanji M. Revisiting human T-cell lymphotropic virus types 1 and 2 infections among rural population in Gabon, central Africa thirty years after the first analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Oct 25;12(10):e0006833.
2: Wang TT, Yang J, Zhang Y, Zhang M, Dubois S, Conlon KC, Tagaya Y, Hamele CE, Dighe S, Olson TL, Feith DJ, Azimi N, Waldmann TA, Loughran TP Jr. IL-2 and IL-15 blockade by BNZ-1, an inhibitor of selective γ-chain cytokines, decreases leukemic T-cell viability. Leukemia. 2018 Oct 23.
3: Rodrigues ES, de Macedo MD, Orellana MD, Takayanagui OM, Palma PVB, Pinto MT, de Oliveira GLV, Malmegrim KCR, Slavov SN, Covas DT, Kashima S. SHORT COMMUNICATION: HUMAN BONE MARROW STROMAL CELLS EXHIBIT IMMUNOSUPPRESSIVE EFFECTS ON HTLV-1 T-LYMPHOCYTE FROM INFECTED INDIVIDUALS. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2018 Oct 23.
4: Zarei-Ghobadi M, Mozhgani SH, Dashtestani F, Yadegari A, Hakimian F, Norouzi M, Ghourchian H. A genosensor for detection of HTLV-I based on photoluminescence quenching of fluorescent carbon dots in presence of iron magnetic nanoparticle-capped Au. Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 22;8(1):15593
5: Laher AE, Ebrahim O. HTLV-1, ATLL, severe hypercalcaemia and HIV-1 co-infection: an overview. Pan Afr Med J. 2018 May 28;30:61.
6: Rajaei T, Farajifard H, Rezaee SA, Azarpazhooh MR, Mahmoudi M, Valizadeh N, Rafatpanah H. Different roles of CXCR1 and CXCR2 in HTLV-1 carriers and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) patients. Med Microbiol Immunol. 2018 Oct 20.
7: Weiler N, Mayer EF, Kazlouskaya V, Bamgbola OF, Banniettis N, Heilman E, Glick SA. Infective dermatitis associated with HTLV-1 infection in a girl from Trinidad: Case report and review of literature. Pediatr Dermatol. 2018 Oct 18.
8: Kulkarni A, Taylor GP, Klose RJ, Schofield CJ, Bangham CR. Histone H2A monoubiquitylation and p38-MAPKs regulate immediate-early gene-like reactivation of latent retrovirus HTLV-1. JCI Insight. 2018 Oct 18;3(20). pii: 123196.
9: Silva IC, Pinheiro BT, Nobre AFS, Coelho JL, Pereira CCC, Ferreira LSC, Almeida CPS, Viana MNDSA, Almeida DS, Falcão JR, Santos YCVD, Araújo MWL, Borges MDS, Nascimento LD, Valentim LS, Casseb JSDR, Costa CAD, Sousa MS. Moderate endemicity of the human T-lymphotropic virus infection in the metropolitan region of Belém, Pará, Brazil. Rev Bras Epidemiol. 2018 Oct 11;21:e180018.
10: Soriano V. Hot News: HTLV-1 Infection Still A Neglected Disease. AIDS Rev. 2018;20(3):175.
11: Styles CE, Hoad VC, Seed CR. Estimation of human T-lymphotropic virus incidence in blood donors from observed prevalence. Vox Sang. 2018 Oct 14.
12: Djuicy DD, Mouinga-Ondémé A, Cassar O, Ramassamy JL, Idam Mamimandjiami A, Bikangui R, Fontanet A, Gessain A. Risk factors for HTLV-1 infection in Central Africa: A rural population-based survey in Gabon. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Oct 12;12(10):e0006832.
13: Suzuki N, Yoshida T, Takeuchi H, Sakuma R, Sukegawa S, Yamaoka S. Robust Enhancement of Lentivirus Production by Promoter Activation. Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 11;8(1):15036.
14: Turpin J, Yurick D, Khoury G, Pham H, Locarnini S, Melamed A, Witkover A, Wilson K, Purcell D, Bangham CRM, Einsiedel L. Impact of Hepatitis B Virus Coinfection on Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 Clonality in an Indigenous Population of Central Australia. J Infect Dis. 2018 Oct 11.
15: Ishida T. [Current status and future directions of ATL]. Rinsho Ketsueki. 2018;59(10):2136-2145.
16: Kogure Y, Kataoka K. [Genetic analysis and its clinical implication in adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma]. Rinsho Ketsueki. 2018;59(10):2127-2135.
17: Subramanian K, Dierckx T, Khouri R, Menezes SM, Kagdi H, Taylor GP, Farre L, Bittencourt A, Kataoka K, Ogawa S, Van Weyenbergh J. Decreased RORC expression and downstream signaling in HTLV-1-associated Adult T-cell Lymphoma/Leukemia uncovers an antiproliferative IL17 link: a potential target for immunotherapy? Int J Cancer. 2018 Oct 10
18: Goyal M, Dinaker M, Gayathri K. Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome - CD4+ T-cell malignancy in CD4+ T-cell deficient status: A paradox. Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2018 Oct-Dec;61(4):553-556.
19: Gruber K. Australia tackles HTLV-1. Lancet Infect Dis. 2018 Oct;18(10):1073-1074.
20: Oka T, Mizuno H, Sakata M, Fujita H, Yoshino T, Yamano Y, Utsumi K, Masujima T, Utsunomiya A. Metabolic abnormalities in adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma and induction of specific leukemic cell death using photodynamic therapy. Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 8;8(1):14979.
21: Wu SL, Gao M, Zheng J, Yan PP, Yan YS. [Analysis on influencing factors that leading to nonspecific responses to indeterminate results of HIV antibodies]. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi. 2018 Sep 10;39(9):1255-1260.
22: Koyama RVL, Yoshikawa GT, Fujihara S, da Silva Dias GA, Virgolino RR, Rodrigues AR, Medeiros R, Simões Quaresma JA, Fuzii HT. Incomplete myelopathy and human T cell lymphotropic virus type-1 (HTLV-1). J Neurovirol. 2018 Oct 5.
23: Kitanosono H, Iwanaga H, Annoura H, Shima T, Fukushima N, Tsujino A. [A Case of Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disease with Hypoglycorrhachia]. Brain Nerve. 2018 Oct;70(10):1115-1118.
24: De Souza JN, Soares BNRR, Goes LL, Lima CS, Barreto NMPV, Jacobina BS, Gonçalves N, Teixeira MCA, Galvão-Castro B, Grassi MFR, Soares NM. Case Report: Strongyloides stercoralis Hyperinfection in a Patient with HTLV-1: A Case Report of an Infection with Filariform and Rhabditiform Larvae, Eggs, and Free-Living Adult Females. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018 Oct 1.
25: Wilson A, Fearon D. Paediatric Strongyloidiasis in Central Australia. Trop Med Infect Dis. 2018 Jun 13;3(2). pii: E64.
26: Alais S, Pasquier A, Jegado B, Journo C, Rua R, Gessain A, Tobaly-Tapiero J, Lacoste R, Turpin J, Mahieux R. STLV-1 co-infection is correlated with an increased SFV proviral load in the peripheral blood of SFV/STLV-1 naturally infected non-human primates. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Oct 1;12(10):e0006812.
27: Caporali JFM, Labanca L, Florentino KR, Souza BO, Utsch Gonçalves D. Intrarater and interrater agreement and reliability of vestibular evoked myogenic potential triggered by galvanic vestibular stimulation (galvanic-VEMP) for HTLV-1 associated myelopathy testing. PLoS One. 2018 Sep 27;13(9):e0204449.
28: Song Z, Wu W, Chen M, Cheng W, Yu J, Fang J, Xu L, Yasunaga JI, Matsuoka M, Zhao T. Long noncoding RNA ANRIL supports proliferation of adult T-cell leukemia cells through cooperation with EZH2. J Virol. 2018 Sep 26. pii: JVI.00909-18.
29: Fang J, Yi K, Song Z, Chen M, Xu L, Zhao T. [Inhibition of proliferation of adult T-cell leukemia cells by celastrol]. Sheng Wu Gong Cheng Xue Bao. 2018 Sep 25;34(9):1491-1499.
30: Echevarria-Lima J, de Abreu Pereira D, de Oliveira TS, de Melo Espíndola O, Lima MA, Celestino Leite AC, Sandim V, Rodrigues Nascimento C, E Kalume D, B Zingali R. Protein Profile of Blood Monocytes is Altered in HTLV-1 Infected Patients: Implications for HAM/TSP Disease. Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 25;8(1):14354.
31: Zheng ML, Zhou NK, Luo CH. Utilizing multiple pathway cross-talk networks reveals hub pathways in primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma. J Cancer Res Ther. 2018 Sep;14(Supplement):S694-S700.
32: Hedayati Moghadam M, Rezaee SAR, Hosseini M, Niazmand S, Salmani H, Rafatpanah H, Asarzadegan Dezfuli M, Amel Zabihi N, Abareshi A, Mahmoudabady M. HTLV-1 infection-induced motor dysfunction, memory impairment, depression, and brain tissues oxidative damage in female BALB/c mice. Life Sci. 2018 Nov 1;212:9-19.
33: Umekita K, Hashiba Y, Kariya Y, Kubo K, Miyauchi S, Aizawa A, Umeki K, Nomura H, Kawaguchi T, Matsuda M, Takajo I, Hidaka T, Okayama A. The time-sequential changes of risk factors for adult T-cell leukemia development in human T-cell leukemia virus-positive patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a retrospective cohort study. Mod Rheumatol. 2018 Oct 25:1-7.
34: Keshavarz M, Karbalaie Niya MH, Tameshkel FS, Mozaffari Nejad AS, Monavari SH, Keyvani H. A Survey on Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) and Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-Related Virus (XMRV) Coinfection in Tehran, Iran. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2018 Jul-Sep;10(3):166-171.
35: Lv H, Lv H, Lin Z, Chen L, Zhu M, Hong D. Meta-analysis of correlationship between HLA-G 3'UTR 14-bp Ins/Del polymorphism and virus susceptibility. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Sep;97(38):e12262.
36: Yang K, Stanfield RL, Martinez-Yamout MA, Dyson HJ, Wilson IA, Wright PE. Structural basis for cooperative regulation of KIX-mediated transcription pathways by the HTLV-1 HBZ activation domain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Oct 2;115(40):10040-10045.
37: Brito VDS, Santos FLN, Gonçalves NLS, Araujo TH, Nascimento DSV, Pereira FM, Boa-Sorte NCA, Grassi MFR, Caterino-de-Araujo A, Galvão-Castro B. Performance of commercially available serological screening tests for human T-cell lymphotropic virus infection in Brazil. J Clin Microbiol. 2018 Sep 19. pii: JCM.00961-18.
38: Bellon M, Moles R, Chaib-Mezrag H, Pancewicz J, Nicot C. JAG1 overexpression contributes to Notch1 signaling and the migration of HTLV-1-transformed ATL cells. J Hematol Oncol. 2018 Sep 19;11(1):119.
39: Otaguiri KK, Dos Santos DF, Slavov SN, Depieri L, Palma PVB, Meirelles FV, Covas DT, Da Silveira JC, Kashima S. Tax-mRNA-carrying exosomes from HTLV-1-infected cells can induce IFN-γ production in vitro. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2018 Sep 19
40: Wu W, Hatterschide J, Syu YC, Cantara WA, Blower RJ, Hanson HM, Mansky LM, Musier-Forsyth K. Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 Gag domains have distinct RNA-binding specificities with implications for RNA packaging and dimerization. J Biol Chem. 2018 Oct 19;293(42):16261-16276.
41: Cáceres CJ, Angulo J, Lowy F, Contreras N, Walters B, Olivares E, Allouche D, Merviel A, Pino K, Sargueil B, Thompson SR, López-Lastra M. Non-canonical translation initiation of the spliced mRNA encoding the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 basic leucine zipper protein. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Sep 12.
  • Last modified 26-11-2018