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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia Fitzgerald-Bocarsly, PhD (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-NJMS)
Description: This comprehensive book details the advances in our understanding of innate and adaptive immune responses to infectious organisms, and how these advances are leading to novel therapeutic intervention strategies for infectious diseases and their associated pathologies. Written by distinguished experts, this book is divided into nine sections ranging from general aspects of host defense to specific acquired immunity, immunopathology, and immune intervention.
Purpose: The editors' stated purpose is to provide a comprehensive update on infectious disease immunology. Given the exponential rate at which knowledge has been expanding in the study of host response to infection, and the fact that previous books addressing similar topics are sorely out of date, this is a much-needed resource.
Audience: Their goal is to provide a holistic approach to the study of host/pathogen interactions, thus bringing together the fields of microbiology and immunology. While this book will be best appreciated by professional immunologists, it also will be useful for traditional microbiologists who want a better understanding of host/pathogen interactions as well as for advanced students of immunology who want a comprehensive compilation covering the field.
Features: The book begins with fascinating descriptions of invertebrate immunity to infectious organisms and evolution of the immune response and chapters on the different categories of pathogens, then carries on through innate and adaptive immune responses to these distinct categories of pathogens. These are followed by important sections on the pathology of infections and pathogen evasion of host response, and autoimmunity, and chapters on immune intervention that document the outstanding progress that is being made in the field. The book ends on the more humbling note of four specific infectious diseases — HIV, TB, malaria, and flu — that are still causing huge worldwide morbidity and mortality despite extensive, ongoing research efforts. Overall, the book is informative and comprehensive. Somewhat disappointing, however, is the lack of color figures; color is limited to a small number of color plates clustered together in the center of the book, where their separation from the relevant text limits their value.
Assessment: This is an outstanding and comprehensive overview of our current knowledge of the immune response to infection. Although excellent books like Immunology of Infectious Diseases, also edited by Kaufmann (ASM Press, 2002), precede it, these are already too outdated to be of much current use. In addition, although there are many other books that address some of the topics in this book, this comprehensive publication has the potential to be for infectious disease immunology what Fields Virology is for virology.