The Joint Research Center for Human Retrovirus Infection is a collaborative effort between Kumamoto University and Kagoshima University initiated in April 2019 for the shared goal of eradicating refractory retroviruses. We hope that the innovative research and education structure achieved through collaboration between both the Kumamoto and Kagoshima University campuses results in a retrovirus research and education center visible to the world that will then act as a hub for a global research network.
Center for AIDS Research of Kumamoto University which formed the base for what would become the Joint Research Center, was founded in April 1997 as the first center at a Japanese university to specialize in AIDS research. As part of the Training and Educational Program for AIDS Global COE Program, the center received top praise for its work in setting up facilities overseas, educating young researchers, and promoting multinational joint research. This year, the center also held the 20th international Kumamoto AIDS Seminar.
At Kumamoto University, in addition to research on the HIV-1 that causes AIDS, we are also involved in considerable research into the Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus (HTLV-1) that causes adult T-cell leukemia (ATL). These viruses share the fact that there is still no cure. People infected with the HIV-1 virus spend the rest of their lives controlling the virus with medicine, but this means that the infectious nature of these diseases still poses a threat to mankind. With this in mind, the Kumamoto University Campus is performing basic research into vaccine development and eliminating latent infections. Through the Course of Educational Program for Advanced Research in Infectious Diseases and AIDS that focuses on these infectious diseases, we are educating young researchers in this field. In the future, the Kumamoto University Campus intends to concentrate even more on educating the next generation of principal investigators in a globally-minded setting.