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From The CriticsReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This overview of immune responses to gene therapy focuses on the immune response to vectors as well as barriers that might interfere with gene targeting rather than on specific diseases, although obviously they are discussed.
Purpose: The intent is to describe the complex interactions between gene transfer and the immune system. In order to successfully use viral vectors to deliver functional genes, it is necessary to develop work-arounds to avoid antibody and cytotoxic responses, as these will otherwise negate therapy. The book presents what is currently known about the host immune response to gene transfer, and the editor suggests that this information will be particularly useful to students entering the field of gene therapy. This represents a different approach to providing information about this subject.
Audience: The book describes how the various parts of the immune system respond to attempts at gene therapy. Students would certainly find it helpful in their course work; in fact, an entire course could be built around this book. It summarizes a lot of data that might be needed by residents or physicians who do not treat patients using gene therapy. Physicians and scientists who are working directly in the area may already be aware of much of what is presented here, but even so, they may find it a worthwhile resource. The editor and the chapter authors are all experts in the areas they discuss.
Features: Each chapter approaches gene transfer with a careful consideration of the characteristics of the vector, its delivery, and the target organ(s), rather than specific diseases. Both local and systemic responses are discussed. The overview chapter is helpful in developing the context. There are a limited number of black-and-white illustrations, but this does not significantly detract from the presentation.
Assessment: This book, put together by experts, delivers a fresh approach to thinking about gene therapy and delivery of the vectors. The information is as current as a multiauthored book can be and would be useful to students as well as physicians.