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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David A. Dean, Ph.D.(Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This book provides a background on the theory and some of the methods used to develop and evaluate current and developing approaches for suicide gene therapy. A variety of gene delivery strategies are discussed, as are mechanisms of drug action, host response, and clinical trial development.
Purpose: The purpose of the book is to provide a comprehensive overview of the theory and practices of suicide gene therapy to treat cancer. The book takes a multidisciplinary approach to integrate theory and practice. Suicide gene therapy has great potential importance for cancer treatment and thus a book like this is a welcome addition to the field.
Audience: This book is written for researchers at all levels, from graduate students in biological or pharmaceutical sciences to researchers and clinicians. As with any edited book, some chapters stand stronger than others, but on the whole it is accessible at all levels and is an appropriate resource for all as well. The authors are leaders in their fields, making this a credible contribution.
Features: This book is divided into several general areas. The first several chapters deal with different gene and pro-drug delivery methods, including viral and non-viral methods for gene delivery. The next set of chapters deals with specific combinations of enzymes and drugs to be used for suicide gene therapy. Finally, several chapters are included on such topics as immunological responses, how to design a clinical trial, and the various side effects that may be encountered. Notable chapters include one on the development of retroviral vectors by Colin Porter and excellent chapter on random and directed mutagenesis techniques and considerations by Kurtz and Black. The book contains a large number of high quality color and black-and-white illustrations that support and enhance the text. The only shortcoming of the book is that while the introductions and discussions of theory are excellent, in many instances the desire to add procedures in a protocol format takes away from the strengths of the book. Several chapters provide detailed protocols that are not generally applicable and thus, not of much use to people outside that particular laboratory. However, these are a relatively few number of chapters, and the overall tone of the book is very good.
Assessment: This is a good book for those working in the area of suicide gene therapy that can serve both as a reference to senior investigators as well as a primer to new lab members and researchers outside the field who are trying to get a flavor of the state of the field.