Dr. Maureen Gorman
Cancer biology is influenced in two important ways by the mechanisms that provide cells with an optimal amount of iron. Initiation of a new tumor can occur when the ferrous form of iron participates in the production of the mutagenic hydroxyl radical. In addition, tumor growth requires iron, and cancer cells meet this need for extra iron through decreased iron efflux and increased iron uptake. We are interested in mechanisms of iron uptake that are conserved in invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Our work has focused on iron uptake in insects; for example, we have been studying ferric reductases that may be involved in iron uptake in insects and in humans. A more complete understanding of the mechanisms of iron uptake would facilitate efforts to use iron manipulation in cancer therapy and prevention.