A considerable array of diseases are now recognized to be associated with misplacement of iron. Excessive deposits of the metal in sensitive tissue sites can result in formation of destructive hydroxyl radicals as well as in stimulation of growth of neoplastic and microbial cell invaders. To counteract potential iron damage, hosts employ the iron chelators, transferrin and lactoferrin. These proteins have been recently developed into pharmaceutical products. Additionally, a variety of low molecular mass iron chelators are being used/tested to treat whole body iron loading, and specific diseases for which the metal is a known or suspected risk factor.