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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Bruce A. Fenderson, PhD (Thomas Jefferson University)
Description: Stem cell researchers hope to discover the genetic and biochemical pathways that direct cell differentiation and histogenesis. Their goal is to replace injured tissues in patients with chronic diseases such as myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, and Parkinson disease. This beautiful hard-cover book provides an overview of recent progress in this field. It includes 28 chapters on topics ranging from "myocardial tissue repair" and "wound healing and skin substitutes," to "tissue engineering the bladder." The primary focus is on cell biology and bioengineering.
Purpose: According to the editors, the aim of this book is to "cover key aspects of the promise and existing problems in the emerging field of regenerative medicine." They hope the book "will provide a realistic image of the huge potential, promise, and challenges facing the fantastic field of regenerative medicine in its quest to cure disease and prolong life.
Audience: The book is written primarily for basic science and clinical researchers (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, scientists) interested in both adult and embryonic stem cells. Biomedical researchers interested in gene therapy, molecular pathology, and developmental biology will also value this book because of its clinically-relevant approach (from bench to bedside).
Features: The book is divided into eight major sections, which focus on different populations of stem cells (e.g., kidney, pancreas, skin). Each section begins with an insightful overview of the organ system and its response to injury. The authors organize the literature to make each chapter a story that educates and reads well. Each chapter provides an introduction, headers to focus the reader's attention, and a comprehensive list of references. The tables and 62 figures are informative. The book includes glossy pages and 27 beautiful, full-color plates that illustrate breakthroughs in cell engineering. The book is carefully edited and the authors are experts.
Assessment: The book provides an up-to-date synthesis of information regarding cell engineering and regenerative medicine. A major strength of this book is that the authors are interested in clinical applications of their basic research. The examples and illustrations are well done. The broad scope of topics will attract attention from the entire biomedical research community. The book provides a snap shot of current research, a vision of research opportunities, and hope for patients with chronic diseases.