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Gene therapy in inflammatory diseases. Eds Christopher H Evans and Paul D Robbins. (Pp 272; $95.) Basel: Birkhäuser, 2000. ISBN 0-8176-5855-6.
Gene Therapy In Inflammatory Diseasesaims at giving readers an overview of gene therapy, being a collection of authoritative reviews of selected research projects. The reader will find a series of interesting topics in gene therapy, showing data from preclinical and clinical studies, concluding with gene transfer in transplantation and DNA vaccination as a treatment. The variety of issues reflects the enthusiasm of editors and authors in introducing gene therapy to a wide readership.
After a general discussion of basic concepts of gene therapy, there is a heterogeneous collection of “research projects and studies” rather than a systematic and didactic approach to gene therapy in inflammatory diseases. Most chapters are well illustrated, referenced and comprehensive, but some are not—for example, lacking comprehensive tables and figures, or inadequately referencing recent literature (most of the references end at 1998).
Title and headlines will raise high expectation in physicians, but finding clinical applications requires some effort. The presentation of preclinical studies and animal models is good, making the book suitable for specialists and those with a specific interest in the field. For those who want an introduction to gene therapy from the clinician's standpoint, it might have a limited value. The important aspects of bioethics are completely missing.
Clinical data are presented on gene therapy in 11 rheumatoid patients in the USA and Europe, but it is too early to predict when and to what extent such treatment will succeed.
A great deal of effort has gone into the production of this volume, in collecting fundamental research and preparatory work of preclinical and animal studies of gene therapy in inflammatory diseases. More work is needed to take this research from the bench to the patient's bedside.
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