Article (Scientific journals)
Time to Go Back to the Original Name
Gallo, Robert; Willems, Luc; Tagaya, Yutaka
2017In Frontiers in Microbiology, 8, p. 1800
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Keywords :
HTLV-1; T-cell leukemia; myelopathy; oncogenic viruses; retrovirus
Abstract :
[en] Almost 40 years ago, the first pathogenic human retrovirus was discovered and shown to cause a T-cell leukemia in humans (Poiesz et al., 1980a, 1981). Thus, a new paradigm was established showing that a virus can directly cause cancer in humans. At that time, the only other suspected case was the connection between the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and Burkitt’s Lymphoma and later nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Naturally, and in keeping with the names used for animal retroviruses associated with leukemia, we (the Gallo group) named this new virus as human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV), which was formally accepted by the scientific community. As of today, our list of human oncogenic viruses has expanded to include hepatitis B/C virus (HBV, HCV), papillomaviruses (HPV), Herpes virus-8 (HHV-8), and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). In parallel, the group of Delta-retroviruses that HTLV belongs to has expanded to accommodate additionalmembers over the years, now consisting ofHTLV-1_4, and STLV-1_4. In themeantime, the name of the original virus was changed to human T-lymphotropic virus-1, because of the addition of the viral causative agent of AIDS as HTLV-III to the same group (Coffin, 2015). Thus, one of us (RCG) agreed on this name change with several other retrovirologists at a Cold-Spring Harbor meeting in 1983. In retrospect, the name change has made it ambiguous as to which virus should enter this group, and since the AIDS virus was formally named HIV and separated from the HTLV group, making the need for the name of HTLV-1 as human T-“lymphotropic” virus no longer particularly useful or meaningful. Finally, we note here the greater oncogenicity of HTLV-1 compared to other viruses, or even other known carcinogens which is a point in keeping a name that describes their effect (discussed in an accompanying article). Therefore, we propose to restore the original name “leukemia virus.”
Disciplines :
Oncology
Author, co-author :
Gallo, Robert
Willems, Luc  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Agronomie, Bio-ingénierie et Chimie (AgroBioChem) > Microbial, food and biobased technologies
Tagaya, Yutaka
Language :
English
Title :
Time to Go Back to the Original Name
Publication date :
22 September 2017
Journal title :
Frontiers in Microbiology
eISSN :
1664-302X
Publisher :
Frontiers Media S.A., Switzerland
Volume :
8
Pages :
1800
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Available on ORBi :
since 31 January 2018

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