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Apoptosis: Pharmacological Implications and Therapeutic Opportunities

      Grading Key★★★★★ = outstanding;★★★★ = excellent;★★★ = good;★★ = fair; = poor
      Type of Book: A comprehensive multiauthored volume on all aspects of apoptosis.
      Scope of Book: This book, which is volume 41 in the Advances in Pharmacology series, is the most wide-ranging compendium of reviews of this rapidly evolving field currently available. The authors were encouraged to extend their comments to speculations on the therapeutic implications of apoptosis from the perspectives of their reviews.
      Contents: The recognition and appreciation of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, as a fundamental biologic process that affects metazoan development, differentiation, homeostasis, and pathology have virtually exploded during the past decade. The 21 chapters that comprise this volume are divided into sections that focus on the biologic, physiologic, and pathologic features and treatment of malignant diseases. In each chapter, experienced scientists who are active in particular areas provide a perspective of the importance of apoptosis to their field. The editor effectively induced the authors to identify important unanswered questions and to speculate about therapeutic possibilities suggested by the current state of knowledge in their specific area.
      Strengths: Each of the chapters is comprehensive within its area of focus. The editorial cross-referencing among chapters enhances the readers' appreciation of the interrelatedness of subjects that might otherwise go unnoticed, and the therapeutic outlook is both timely and novel.
      Deficiencies: The chapters are current to mid-1996, a time frame that precludes the use of the nomenclature designated for the proteases (caspases) that conduct the execution phase of apoptosis, which has since been adopted for systematic designation of these proteins.
      Recommended Readership: This volume is likely to be a source authority on the development of this entire field for some time to come. ·Thus, I enthusiastically recommend it to students and researchers who seek to appreciate the development of this dynamic field, as well as to researchers who wish to understand this fundamental process in greater depth.
      Overall Grading: ★★★★★