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New drugs and targets for asthma and COPD.

New drugs and targets for asthma and COPD, T. Hansel, J. Barnes, editors (Karger, Basel, Switzerland) 2010. 310 pages. Price: CHF/US $ 248.00 ISBN 978-3-8055-9566-7

The book is published as Volume 39 in the series--Progress in Respiratory Research (Ed.--CT Bolliger). The earlier volume (No. 31) on the same subject in the series was published about ten years ago in 2001. The second version was necessary in view of the rapid developments which have taken place in the last decade in the treatment of asthma and COPD.

There are 41 chapters on various aspects of the new drugs used in asthma and COPD. These drugs and targets have been discussed under several sections based on their mechanism of action, such as the bronchodilators, the 1gE and epithelial directed approaches, T-cell co-stimualtor blockade, cytokines, chemokines, antioxidants, enzyme inhibitors, protease inhibitors, nucleic acids and inhibitors of fibroin, vessels, cell signaling and transcription. This is a very comprehensive and in-depth approach to the drugs leaving little beyond the scope of the subject. It is an eye-opener to know of the varied and wide arena of potential treatments available for these diseases.

It makes an excellent reading not only for those interested in research and development of new drugs but also for clinicians involved in disease-management. It does not talk about the treatment protocols or guidelines but about the mechanisms, potential roles and pitfalls of different drugs which one employs in treatment. It also provides an insight into the future possibilities of preventive and even curative treatment for allergy and airways remodeling.

The introductory chapter by the two editors of the volume provides a concise summary of the contents. It talks about the different mechanisms of pathogenesis and the application of translational medicine to the management of these two disorders. The brief but highly referenced overview is enough for a quick browsing of the contents. The subsequent chapters provide an in depth analysis of each drug and target of treatment.

The book is of immense value for respiratory-pharmacologists and immunobiologists. Each chapter begins with the basic pharmacological structure of the molecule and their mechanisms of actions and ends with annual studies and human clinical trials. There are a large number of figures especially of pharmacological structures and drug-targets. Some of the drugs which are discussed are already available in the therapeutic armamentarium, while others remain the subject of future in the pipeline.

The only difficulty which was encountered related to the discussion on the two diseases (asthma and COPD) together in different chapters. This had resulted in frequent overlaps and switch-overs from asthma to COPD and vice-versa. This was possibly because of the several commonalities resulting in an obliteration of differences in the two diseases with reference to their pathogenesis and treatment made necessary. But at times, one needs to be careful to translate a target or a treatment for one of the two obstructive disorders.

Overall, this is an excellent introduction to what has happened in the last 8-10 years and what is likely to happen in the next decade in the treatment of airway obstruction. It seems that the drug companies will remain busy with a rapid turn around of new drugs and molecules. The presentation and printing are also attractive with clear coloured figures, flow-diagrams and tables. It is a valuable book for the respiratory research workers, pharmacologists and physicians.

S.K. Jindal

Department of Pulmonary Medicine

Post Graduate Institute of Medical

Education & Research

Chandigarh 160 012, India
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Author:Jindal, S.K.
Publication:Indian Journal of Medical Research
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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