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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This is a compilation of protocols for the isolation, characterization, and culture of tumor cells. Additional material includes identification of contaminants, composition of media, and sources of cell lines.
Purpose: The goal of this book is to provide investigators with well established methods for culturing tumor cells. General principles as well as specific procedures are described. This is a generally useful objective, but there are limitations in presentation.
Audience: This is basically a laboratory manual and as such is intended for advanced students, research fellows, and experienced laboratory staff. The multiple authors have documented expertise in the area.
Features: The ability to culture transformed cells in the laboratory has permitted many detailed studies of cell behavior, gene expression, growth regulation, etc., that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible. Hence, a compilation of protocols focused on this area has obvious currency. This book is divided into seven sections and has 32 chapters plus two appendixes. The initial sections provide some general techniques and include material on characterization. This is followed by a series of chapters on isolation and line establishment of cells from several tumor types and a set of assays generally applied to such cell lines. Protocols for transfection and co-culture are included, and the book concludes with several chapters on contamination. In general, protocols provide sufficient detail for adaptation in the laboratory. In several cases, however, the material would have benefited from inclusion of a discussion on the shortcomings of a given assay, limitations, and reproducibility (angiogenesis assays, for example). In addition, the genetic stability of cultured tumor cells is limited, especially with continued passage in the laboratory. In this arena, the importance of genetic characterization received insufficient emphasis. It is well recognized that all such cultured systems have limitations — here, a candid discussion of these juxtaposed with the use of cell lines for toxicity and drug screening would have been useful. Finally, the appendixes provide a listing of ingredients of commonly used media (not too useful since virtually all investigators buy prepared medium) and a listing of available cell lines from central repositories (easily obtained from the respective Web sites). Laboratories wishing to have a handy cell culture protocol set will find value in this contribution.
Assessment: This is a book of mixed quality. Stronger editing and the inclusion of more critical evaluations of methods would have helped. The approaches are somewhat dated. Many of the procedures are standard and used in diverse areas; little unique material is presented.