Head of laboratory
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Iron is essential for life and growth. While it is well known that iron deficiency can lead to anaemia, it is generally not appreciated that iron is critical for the growth of all cells, particularly cancer cells. The Iron Metabolism and Chelation Program is concerned with understanding the basic processes of how tumour cells utilise and transport iron. This knowledge will lead to the development of therapies that can selectively starve tumour cells of iron and inhibit their growth. In addition, we are studying the mechanisms involved in iron loading in the inherited diseases β-thalassaemia and Friedreich’s ataxia.
Professor Richardson’s major contributions to cancer research are focussed on understanding the role of iron in cancer cell proliferation and the development of novel anti-tumour agents known as iron chelators. These studies have resulted in promising and potent anti-cancer drugs and are subject of a suite of active national patents.