October 25, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

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King Solomon to Saint Mary: a journey through human retroviruses, ancient and modern

19 November, 2015 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) slips under the radar of most healthcare workers, especially compared to its distant relative – HIV. With 10 million infections globally and twenty thousand carrying HTLV-1 in the UK alone this infection is neglected even amongst neglected diseases. Whilst infection does not cause symptoms in the majority, 1 in 10 are at risk of either aggressive forms of white blood cell cancers or inflammation in many tissues. Inflammation of the spinal cord causes decades of disability.  Parallel research into HIV and HTLV provides useful insights into both infections.

In his lecture Professor Taylor will chart the successes of the largest HTLV research centre in Europe, here at Imperial. At St. Mary’s his team have, over the last 22 years, cared for those affected by HTLV, developed tests to monitor infection and explored treatments old and new.

The virtual elimination of HIV mother-to-child transmission and normalisation of the management of pregnancy for HIV infected mothers in the UK has been achieved with little fanfare. Professor Taylor will show how clinical research at Imperial has contributed to our knowledge on prevention of transmission, often leading the global debate on safety and effectiveness of anti-HIV therapy in pregnancy.


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