Anticancer Drug Development


B Baguley and D Kerr (eds)
Published by Academic Press (2002)
ISBN:  0-1207-2651-3.  384 pages plus index.
RRP:  A$221.00

This ambitious text consists of 20 chapters with contributions from a total of 59 eminent scientists from seven countries and provides a well-structured and impressively broad overview of all aspects of anticancer drug development.  Considering the breadth of topics covered, there is surprisingly little overlap of content.  The editors, Professor Bruce Baguley (Co-director, Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, University of Auckland, NZ) and Professor David Kerr (Head of Clinical Pharmacology, Institute for Cancer Medicine, University of Oxford, UK) have a wealth of experience in anticancer drug development and clinical trials respectively, and have collectively published well over 500 research articles in these fields of research.

The first nine chapters essentially deal with cellular targets for anticancer drugs. Chapters 10-14 deal with different approaches for anticancer drug development and chapters 15-20 deal with various aspects of pre-clinical drug development.  Each chapter begins with a brief summary and most conclude with an outline of the progress that has been achieved to date in the relevant field, together with an indication of potential advances in the future.

The individual topics have been presented at an advanced scientific level, and there appears to have been a determined effort to ensure that as much current work as possible has been included, as indicated by the high proportion of relatively recent references cited.

Although most chapters provide useful diagrams, the text would have benefited from more “summary-type” figures.  One unfortunate limitation was the restriction of most figures to black/white, where many would have benefited considerably from a good colour presentation. Some useful colour figures have been included, but are buried between chapters 19 and 20.

Overall, this text provides a magnificent resource for all those involved in any aspect of anticancer drug design or drug development. It is presented at an advanced scientific level and is ideally suited to those who are actively involved in anticancer drug discovery and/or drug development.  However, it will also serve as a superb text for undergraduate and post-graduate students who require an overview of the status of current anti-cancer drug development strategies and approaches, and also to those who require some perspective of individual aspects of anti-cancer drug development.  This is a relatively expensive text (unavoidable for this type of specialised topic), but well worth it!  It is a must for every university and research institute library and for all laboratories involved in anticancer drug research.  It is more research-oriented and more comprehensive than the only other similar text on this topic by Beverley Teicher (Anticancer Drug Development Guide, Humana Press, 1997).

D Phillips
Dept of Biochemistry
La Trobe University, VIC

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