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Science Books

September 23, 2005

Drug Discovery: A History
Walter Sneader (2005)
ISBN: 0471899801

Aside from being a writer of considerable talent, Walter Sneader is a leading authority on drugs and drug applications in human history. Far from being a sanitized, clinical account, Sneader's book plants the origins of specific drugs firmly within a social context, from Neanderthal to today's complex biotechnological advances in medicine. An examination, for example, of the how and why certain drugs generate media attention while others seem to fall by the wayside, along with the cultural and economic implications that these events have on medicine. Even more compelling is Sneader's explanation of how the discovery of medicinal herbs has developed into the contemporary life saving treatments with which we are now so familiar. But the story does not end there, as Sneader also provides an up-to-the-minute report on the development of synthetic compounds for a variety of purposes. Sneader reveals, for example, how the successes of synthetically derived drug prototypes are sometimes often the result of little more than fortuitous circumstances. A situation that becomes seemingly self-evident after Sneader explains the staggeringly complex interactions that any chemical compound can have on human physiology. This book is highly recommended for health professionals, researchers, students and anyone interested in the development of medicines that we all too often take for granted.

An Introduction To Medicinal Chemistry
Graham Patrick (2005)
ISBN: 0199275009

Ever stopped to wonder what that pharmaceutical you just took is doing to your body? Taking a pill for a cold, headache or other malady has become little more than a routine affair these days, but perhaps we are being a little cavalier in our approach to medicines. If you are in the least bit curious, and you should be, Graham Patrick, of the University of Paisley, provides an excellent account of the chain of chemical interactions that occur after ingesting particular pharmaceuticals. Patrick takes us on a fantastic voyage as he examines what happens when a drug scores a hit on various types of molecular targets (pharmacodynamics), and the consequences thereafter (pharmacokinetics). Patrick also examines the broad principles and strategies required in order to implement and design new drugs and make them palatable for a competitive marketplace. Patrick also opens up discussion on particular topics from within the world of medicinal chemistry. What most lay people may find surprising is the evolution of medicinal chemistry, and how previous trial and error methods for testing drugs has developed into a more rationale based approach. Of course, a book on medicinal chemistry would be incomplete without at least touching upon recent advances in genetics and molecular biology. Patrick does not disappoint, and provides a thoroughly engaging report on how these areas will continue to revolutionize medicinal chemistry for many years to come. An Introduction To Medicinal Chemistry is a true multi-disciplinary work that no student of medicinal chemistry should be without, nor anyone concerned with the drugs that we unthinkingly consume.

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