FAU Junior Research Group "Retroviral Pathogenesis: HTLV-1 and Adult T-Cell Leukemia"
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We are a motivated junior research group working on the transmission and oncogenesis of Human T-cell leukemia virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) at the Institute of Clinical and Molecular Virology of the University Hospital Erlangen at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg.
HTLV-1 is a highly oncogenic yet neglected retrovirus, which primarily infects white blood cells (CD4+ T-cells) in vivo and causes incurable diseases like Adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) or inflammatory maladies like HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/ tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) after lifelong viral persistence.
Worldwide, at least 5-10 million people are HTLV-1-infected and most of them are unaware of their infection. The virus is transmitted via cell-containing body fluids such as blood products, semen, and breast milk, which constitutes the major route of mother-to-child transmission. Despite the high number of people worldwide living with a persistent HTLV-1 infection, there is still no efficient prevention strategy, vaccine or cure for HTLV-1 and its associated diseases.