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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This overview of biomarkers as applied to malignancies discusses techniques, targets, and resources.
Purpose: The goal is to provide broad coverage of current approaches to biomarker diagnostics. The increasing interest in this area makes this an appropriate aim. With minor caveats, the book succeeds.
Audience: The target audience includes senior scientists and research fellows as well as laboratory directors interested in this area. The author has had extensive experience in the private sector and is well qualified.
Features: Advances in array technology coupled with those in mass spectrometry now allow rapid and broad data acquisition for both nucleic acid and protein targets. It is well recognized that early detection of cancer provides the best therapeutic prospects and thus data mining for suitable markers is a rapidly growing field. This book provides broad coverage of this endeavor. The initial section focuses on the tools available (mass spectrometry, array usage, etc.) and has the virtue of noting limitations. The remainder of the book is devoted to specific targets associated with one or another malignancy as well as future prospects that may be worth studying. A final chapter discusses the ethical issues associated with wide scale analyses of this type as well as current initiatives in the field. This section is a valuable contribution often overlooked in technical volumes. Each chapter has a suitable bibliography. In a rapidly moving field, this contribution should be regarded as a snapshot of what is known at this time. There is as yet insufficient data to use any of these methods in definitive diagnostics/prognostics. Nevertheless, this is a worthwhile contribution that will provide interested readers with a good understanding of current thinking in the biomarker arena.
Assessment: Cancer is complex and investigators are always seeking correlative information that will be of use in patient management. This is one approach, but it should not be interpreted as definitive. It is a useful addition as long as it is read with caution.