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From The CriticsReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This book, derived from lecture notes used for an undergraduate level course, is an overview of current approaches to treatment of disease with a focus on genetic/recombinant methods.
Purpose: The apparent goal is to introduce students to current methods used to combat disease. In general, an awareness of these topics is of value, and the authors have partially achieved their goal.
Audience: Students taking a course in modern approaches to disease control are the intended audience, although it is not clear what the general concentration aim of such students may be. The material is presented at a level suitable for beginning undergraduates and presumably represents the distilled efforts of the authors who have extensive background in teaching such material.
Features: Disease control is a universal health goal. Targets in this ongoing struggle begin with childhood threats/vaccinations and continue through gene replacement, cancer management, transplantation, etc. In developing strategies to combat these problems, new methods are coming into use and this book provides a student-oriented overview of some of the common approaches. Each of the chapters has a reference set, several cover associated ethical issues, and the book concludes with a discussion of legal concerns. Naive students (presumed audience) will develop an understanding of many of the modern methods used, an appreciation of the diverse ethical issues, and some sense of the regulatory and legal hurdles encountered. With the clear understanding that all of the coverage is superficial, most of the references are not to primary sources but to web-based sites, and essentially none of the science is critically assessed, this book can provide good background information for an uniformed audience. Students in the sciences need a more critical assessment of these issues.
Assessment: This book is suitable for uninformed students not majoring in a scientific discipline. The lack of critical assessment is a serious drawback and diminishes somewhat a generally good overview.