Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) is, in the general population, a rare but serious demyelinating disease of the brain, often resulting in severe disability or death and is caused by infection of oligodendrocytes by the JC polyomavirus (JCV). It is believed that fifty to sixty percent of the population is sero-positive for JCV, indicating exposure to the virus. Despite the high prevalence of JCV infection in the human population, which typically leads to a chronic, asymptomatic infection, incidence of PML in the general population is very low. The pathogenesis of PML is not well understood. It is believed that the development of PML, while dependent on the presence of JCV, is the result of a confluence of viral and host risk factors, which may include an altered or compromised immune system such as in individuals with HIV-1 infection/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), or patients undergoing chronic immunosuppressive therapies after organ transplantation, for treatment of lymphomas, or for autoimmune conditions, such as MS.
This two-day conference will bring together basic science researchers, clinicians, physicians, epidemiologists, and regulatory experts from academia, industry, and government to address novel issues, current challenges, and future directions of basic and clinical research relevant to the mitigation, potential future cure, and risk stratification of PML. Topics of discussion will include JCV virology, PML pathogenesis, risk stratification and disease diagnosis and management. The meeting will feature a series of plenary lectures, short talk presentations selected from submitted abstracts, a poster session, and a closing panel discussion.