Funding from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, assisted the Baker Institute to conduct a study to develop prognostic markers for HTLV-1 associated inflammatory disease in Central Australia.
Central Australia has the highest reported prevalence of HTLV-1 infection worldwide (average adult community prevalence 37%) and high rates of HTLV-1 associated inflammatory diseases. HTLV-1 associated bronchiectasis, for example, is a major cause of early mortality for young adults. An increased number of HTLV-1 infected cells in peripheral blood is associated with disease but not all individuals with a high number of HTLV-1 infected cells develop disease. As treatment options for HTLV-1associated inflammatory diseases (like bronchiectasis) become available, identifying prognostic markers that can detect individuals at risk is now critical because these anti-inflammatory agents must be commenced before there is significant organ damage.