Innovation begins with the blank page, at the space where knowledge ends and the unknown begins. It is found in the open mind of young scientists with fresh eyes that look at an old, unsolved problem in a new way.
So it was this year with Dr. Marianna Truman-Rosentsvit and Prof. Esther Meyron-Holtz who took the well-known medical problems around iron distribution in the body, and looked at them in a new way. Their discovery into the cellular mechanism of ferritin opens new possibilities for treatments for a range of diseases, including cancer and neurological disorders.
Esther Meyron Holtz, Metabolic revelations
It is well known that we need iron in our body to stay healthy, but less known that too much iron can also cause trouble. Revealing the intelligence behind the distribution of iron, the scientists published a benchmark study in the January 2018 issue of Blood, that for the first time reveals the mechanism for cellular transport and secretion of ferritin, a protein considered central to iron storage in the body. The findings move ferritin to the center stage of systemic iron metabolism, as a protein that not only stores, but also transports iron in a controlled manner, giving it all the attributes of an iron regulator.
“Our discovery opens the door to a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of ferritin and the molecular processes it undergoes,” says Meyron-Holtz. “Such insights are bound to contribute to the development of therapies for numerous neurodegenerative diseases, which are characterized by abnormal iron distribution in the brain.”