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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

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: Kawano N, Yoshida S, Kawano S, Kuriyama T, Tahara Y, Toyofuku A, Manabe T, Doi A, Terasaka S, Yamashita K, Ueda Y, Ochiai H, Marutsuka K, Yamano Y, Shimoda K, Kikuchi I. The clinical impact of human T-lymphotrophic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection on the development of adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma (ATL) or HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (HAM) / atypical HAM after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) and renal transplantation. J Clin Exp Hematop. 2018 Aug 8.

2: Sato T, Yagishita N, Tamaki K, Inoue E, Hasegawa D, Nagasaka M, Suzuki H, Araya N, Coler-Reilly A, Hasegawa Y, Tsuboi Y, Takata A, Yamano Y. Proposal of Classification Criteria for HTLV-1-Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis Disease Activity. Front Microbiol. 2018 Jul 25;9:1651.

3: Kamath P, Abrahams J, Cho-Vega JH. Bullous CD4+ CD8+ adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma, a rare diagnostically challenging cutaneous variant. J Cutan Pathol. 2018 Aug 9.

4: Bayliss RJ, Piguet V. Masters of Manipulation: Viral Modulation of the Immunological Synapse. Cell Microbiol. 2018 Aug 19:e12944.

5: Seto AG, Beatty X, Lynch JM, Hermreck M, Tetzlaff M, Duvic M, Jackson AL. Cobomarsen, an oligonucleotide inhibitor of miR-155, co-ordinately regulates multiple survival pathways to reduce cellular proliferation and survival in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Br J Haematol. 2018 Aug 20.

6: Kuramitsu M, Okuma K, Nakashima M, Sato T, Sasaki D, Hasegawa H, Umeki K, Kubota R, Sasada K, Sobata R, Matsumoto C, Kaneko N, Tezuka K, Matsuoka S, Utsunomiya A, Koh KR, Ogata M, Ishitsuka K, Taki M, Nosaka K, Uchimaru K, Iwanaga M, Sagara Y, Yamano Y, Okayama A, Miura K, Satake M, Saito S, Watanabe T, Hamaguchi I. Value assignment of the reference material for human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 quantitative PCR in Japan. Microbiol Immunol. 2018 Aug 20.

7: Costa KHA, Silva TBDV, Souza GDS, Barbosa RFM. Influence of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation on the muscle tonus and amplitude of movement in HTLV-1-infected patients with HAM/TSP. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2018 Jul-Aug;51(4):550-553.

8: James T, Fivenson D, Cotton J. Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 associated with adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. Cutis. 2018 Jul;102(1):E4-E7.

9: Gascón MRP, Mellão MA, Mello SH, Negrão RM, Casseb J, Oliveira ACP. The impact of urinary incontinence on the quality of life and on the sexuality of patients with HAM/TSP. Braz J Infect Dis. 2018 Aug 24. pii: S1413-8670(18)30009-6.

10: Anderson MR, Pleet ML, Enose-Akahata Y, Erickson J, Monaco MC, Akpamagbo Y, Velluci A, Tanaka Y, Azodi S, Lepene B, Jones J, Kashanchi F, Jacobson S. Viral antigens detectable in CSF exosomes from patients with retrovirus associated neurologic disease: functional role of exosomes. Clin Transl Med. 2018 Aug 27;7(1):24.

11: Romanelli LCF, Miranda DM, Carneiro-Proietti ABF, Mamede M, Vasconcelos HMM, Martins ML, Ferreira ASD, Rosa DVF, Paula JJ, Romano-Silva MA, Nicolato R. Spinal cord hypometabolism associated with infection by human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1(HTLV-1). PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Aug 27;12(8):e0006720.

12: Dias ARN, Falcão LFM, Falcão ASC, Normando VMF, Quaresma JAS. Human T Lymphotropic Virus and Pulmonary Diseases. Front Microbiol. 2018 Aug 14;9:1879.

13: Ayatollahi H, Sadeghian M, Kooshyar M, Shirdel A, Rahimi H, Jafarian A, Ghazaei S, Soltani N, Shams F, Motamedi Rad N, Shakeri S. Absence of FLT3 mutations in Iranian adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma patients. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2018 Jun 9;32:47.

14: do Vale DA, Andrade NS, Casseb J, de Oliveira AP, Bussolotti Filho I, Trierveiler M, Ortega KL. Morphological Alterations in Minor Salivary Glands of HTLV1+ Patients: a pilot study. J Oral Pathol Med. 2018 Sep 3.

15: Lopes Martins AL, Rios Grassi MF, de Aquino Firmino A, Lacerda Araujo JP, Paixao TS, Galvão-Castro B, Boa-Sorte N. Human T-Lymphotropic Virus-1-Associated Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis Is Associated With Sexual Dysfunction in Infected Women of Reproductive Age. Sex Med. 2018 Sep 1. pii:S2050-1161(18)30075-8.

16: Eichorst JP, Chen Y, Mueller JD, Mansky LM. Distinct Pathway of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Gag Punctum Biogenesis Provides New Insights into Enveloped Virus Assembly. MBio. 2018 Sep 4;9(5). pii: e00758-18.

17: Afzal H, Kadakia S, Lev S. Parkinsonism in a Patient with Human T-lymphotropic Virus 1 Myelopathy. Cureus. 2018 Jul 7;10(7):e2940.

18: Kanzaki LIB. HTLV-1: A real pathogen or a runaway guest of a diseased cell? J Biosci. 2018 Sep;43(4):785-795.

19: Gilani US, Memoona, Rasheed A, Shahid M, Tasneem F, Arshad MI, Rashid N, Shahzad N. The implication of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology in combating human oncoviruses. J Med Virol. 2018 Aug 22.

20: Yamagishi M, Fujikawa D, Watanabe T, Uchimaru K. HTLV-1-Mediated Epigenetic Pathway to Adult T-Cell Leukemia-Lymphoma. Front Microbiol. 2018 Jul 24;9:1686.

21: Yeh CH, Bellon M, Nicot C. FBXW7: a critical tumor suppressor of human cancers. Mol Cancer. 2018 Aug 7;17(1):115.

22: Kozako T, Mellini P, Ohsugi T, Aikawa A, Uchida YI, Honda SI, Suzuki T. Novel

small molecule SIRT2 inhibitors induce cell death in leukemic cell lines. BMC

Cancer. 2018 Aug 6;18(1):791. doi: 10.1186/s12885-018-4710-1. PubMed PMID:

30081901; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6091197.

24: Kabiri M, Sankian M, Hosseinpour M, Tafaghodi M. The novel immunogenic chimeric peptide vaccine to elicit potent cellular and mucosal immune responses against HTLV-1. Int J Pharm. 2018 Oct 5;549(1-2):404-414.

25: Su C, Bai HX, Xiao R. HTLV-1 status should be recorded in cases of T cell lymphomas /lymphoproliferative disorders - cases of adult T cell leukaemia lymphoma masquerading as other T cell lymphomas/lymphoproliferative disorders could explain some of the apparent ethnic disparities - response to Lo Bello and Naresh. Br J Haematol. 2018 Aug 3.

26: Lo Bello G, Naresh KN. HTLV-1 status should be recorded in cases of T cell lymphomas /lymphoproliferative disorders - cases of adult T cell leukaemia lymphoma masquerading as other T cell lymphomas/lymphoproliferative disorders could explain some apparent ethnic disparities. Br J Haematol. 2018 Aug 3.

27: Nakashima M, Yamochi T, Watanabe M, Uchimaru K, Utsunomiya A, Higashihara M, Watanabe T, Horie R. CD30 characterizes polylobated lymphocytes and disease progression in HTLV-1-infected individuals. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Aug 1. pii:clincanres.0268.2018.

28: Ishikawa C, Senba M, Mori N. Anti-adult T‑cell leukemia/lymphoma activity of cerdulatinib, a dual SYK/JAK kinase inhibitor. Int J Oncol. 2018 Oct;53(4):1681-1690.

29: Hachiman M, Yoshimitsu M, Ezinne C, Kuroki A, Kozako T, Arima N. In vitro effects of arsenic trioxide, interferon α and zidovudine in adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma cells. Oncol Lett. 2018 Jul;16(1):1305-1311.

30: Udeze AO, Odebisi-Omokanye MB, Faneye A, Olusola BA, Ogunsemowo O, Iwuoha C, Atoyebi V. Serological detection of human T-cell lymphotropic virus types I and II among pregnant women in Ilorin, Nigeria. J Immunoassay Immunochem. 2018;39(4):428-438.

31: Nakagawa M, Shaffer AL 3rd, Ceribelli M, Zhang M, Wright G, Huang DW, Xiao W, Powell J, Petrus MN, Yang Y, Phelan JD, Kohlhammer H, Dubois SP, Yoo HM, Bachy E, Webster DE, Yang Y, Xu W, Yu X, Zhao H, Bryant BR, Shimono J, Ishio T, Maeda M, Green PL, Waldmann TA, Staudt LM. Targeting the HTLV-I-Regulated BATF3/IRF4 Transcriptional Network in Adult T Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma. Cancer Cell. 2018 Aug 13;34(2):286-297.e10.

32: van Bilsen WPH, Zaaijer HL, Matser A, Hurk KVD, Slot E, Schim van der Loeff MF, Prins M, van de Laar TJW. Infection Pressure in Men Who Have Sex With Men and Their Suitability to Donate Blood. Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Jul 25.

33: Mata EC, Bezerra RM, Proietti Júnior AA, Pamplona LK, Gomes LO, Corrêa VC, Caluff JS, Borges GS, Casseb J, Kanzaki L. HTLV-1/2 prevalence in two Amazonian communities. J Virus Erad. 2018 Jul 1;4(3):174-178.

34: Shimauchi T, Caucheteux S, Finsterbusch K, Turpin J, Blanchet F, Ladell K, Triantafilou K, Czubala M, Tatsuno K, Easter T, Ahmed Z, Bayliss R, Hakobyan S, Price DA, Tokura Y, Piguet V. Dendritic cells promote the spread of human T-cell leukemia virus type-1 via bidirectional interactions with CD4(+) T-cells. J Invest Dermatol. 2018 Jul 23. pii: S0022-202X(18)32356-X.

35: Phillips AA, Harewood JCK. Adult T Cell Leukemia-Lymphoma (ATL): State of the Art. Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2018 Aug;13(4):300-307.

36: Omsland M, Pise-Masison C, Fujikawa D, Galli V, Fenizia C, Parks RW, Gjertsen BT, Franchini G, Andresen V. Inhibition of Tunneling Nanotube (TNT) Formation and Human T-cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) Transmission by Cytarabine. Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 24;8(1):11118.

37: Katsuya H, Cook LBM, Rowan AG, Satou Y, Taylor GP, Bangham CRM. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-δ (PI3K-δ) is a potential therapeutic target in adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma. Biomark Res. 2018 Jul 18;6:24.

38: Farmanbar A, Firouzi S, Makałowski W, Kneller R, Iwanaga M, Utsunomiya A, Nakai K, Watanabe T. Mutational Intratumor Heterogeneity is a Complex and Early Event in the Development of Adult T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma. Neoplasia. 2018 Sep;20(9):883-893.

39: Kozajda A. [Biological agents intentionally used in Poland based on data from the National Register Of Biological Agents]. Med Pr. 2018 Aug 20;69(4):413-424.

40: Thulin Hedberg S, Eriksson L, Demontis MA, Mölling P, Sundqvist M, Taylor G, Malm K, Andersson S. Droplet digital PCR for absolute quantification of proviral load of human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) types 1 and 2. J Virol Methods. 2018 Oct;260:70-74.

40: Mulherkar R, Karabudak A, Ginwala R, Huang X, Rowan A, Philip R, Murphy EL, Clements D, Ndhlovu LC, Khan ZK, Jain P. In vivo and in vitro immunogenicity of novel MHC class I presented epitopes to confer protective immunity against chronic HTLV-1 infection. Vaccine. 2018 Aug 9;36(33):5046-5057.

41: Labanca L, Morais Caporali JF, Silva Carvalho SAD, Lambertucci JR, Carneiro Proietti ABF, Romanelli LCF, Avan P, Giraudet F, Souza BO, Florentino KR, Utsch Gonçalves D. Vestibular-evoked myogenic potential triggered by galvanic vestibular stimulation may reveal subclinical alterations in human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1-associated myelopathy. PLoS One. 2018 Jul 12;13(7):e0200536.

42: Mozhgani SH, Jahantigh HR, Rafatpanah H, Valizadeh N, Mohammadi A, Basharkhah S, Rezaee SA. Interferon Lambda Family along with HTLV-1 Proviral Load, Tax, and HBZ Implicated in the Pathogenesis of Myelopathy/Tropical Spastic Paraparesis. Neurodegener Dis. 2018;18(2-3):150-155.


  • Last modified 26-09-2018