Description: This book provides a platform for teaching the fundamental aspects of molecular pharmacology from a fresh perspective that emphasizes genes, targets, and drug-design approaches that drive modern pharmacology research rather than the typical organ- or disease-based survey strategy employed by most basic graduate pharmacology books. An introductory chapter clearly plots the intent of the text, and the 11 remaining chapters describe the major target classes and mediators important in pharmacological responses. Chapters on pharmacogenomics, genetic model engineering, and a genetic disease example strengthen the impact of the book considerably.
Purpose: The editors and authors, a team from Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., unfortunately state their primary goal is to complement their students' course experiences, outcomes of which are difficult to infer. However, the authors have devised a clearly organized source for postgraduate pharmacology students to find detailed information on a broad set of highly relevant gene products and the currently favored approaches for researching their function and targeting them with new drugs. This approach provides welcome relief from the typical systems-based survey of pharmacology that better suits students headed toward clinical careers. In this regard, the book provides a very strong bridge between basic physiology and biochemistry or introductory general pharmacological principles and general broad pharmacology and therapeutics courses.
Audience: As is the intent of the editors, this book is appropriate for postgraduate pharmacology or neuropharmacology trainees. Readers certainly need a relatively high undergraduate level understanding of physiology and biochemistry to benefit from this book. The breadth of topics and targets addressed, combined with the depth of detail in each chapter would also, as the editors suggest, make the book useful to postgraduate researchers as a reference source. The editors and authors are established researchers in the bioscience department at Nottingham Trent and bring considerable expertise to the task.
Features: This book provides a solid body of detailed information about the molecular targets and mechanisms that underlie most of the relevant targets for drug development in modern pharmacology research. An introductory chapter sets the stage by defining a perspective that emphasizes the importance of the targets and approaches described in the chapters on current drug development strategies. Chapters then provide in-depth discussions of the major classes of drug targets, including GPCRs, ion channels, transporters, and nuclear receptors. Others address major mechanisms that regulate intracellular signaling, such as calcium and protein interactions. The book is especially good at incorporating issues related to genetics, such as pharmacogenomics and engineering of mutant models of disease. One chapter provides an example of how each of these approaches and several targets are involved in a specific disease (cystic fibrosis). The level of the material is very even across all chapters, and there is little or no redundancy or overlap between them. The supporting graphics are outstanding in both content and visual quality. A useful glossary is included, as is an index.
Assessment: This is successful as a complete, well-integrated overview of the major current topics in molecular pharmacology. The breadth of subjects addressed is wide and comprehensive enough to support a complete introductory course on this material, but also provides excellent depth and detail in each chapter. This book has more even coverage of this large field without the gaps in topics evident in other mechanism-based molecular pharmacology books. Overall, it could be the basis of an excellent course for junior pharmacologists in basic science research who need a greater focus on the mechanisms of drug action rather than an encyclopedic survey of clinical drug use.