Iron Through the Prism of Haematology

John B Porter
British Journal of Haematology 2020, 191 (4): 587-592
Since the inception of the British Society for Haematology (BSH) 60 years ago, our increased scientific understanding of iron metabolism, together with clinical developments, have changed the way we diagnose and treat its disorders. In the UK, perhaps the most notable contributions relate to iron overload, some of which I will outline from personal experience. Diagnostically, this began with the identification of serum ferritin as a marker of iron overload and continued later with the application of MRI-based imaging techniques for iron and its distribution. Therapeutically, the first trials of both parenteral and oral chelation, which have radically changed the outcomes of transfusional iron-overloaded patients, took place in the UK and are now part of standard clinical practice. During this time, our scientific understanding of iron metabolism at a cellular and systemic level have advanced the diagnosis and treatment of inherited disorders of iron metabolism. There are potential novel applications related to our recent understanding of hepcidin metabolism and manipulation.

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