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Yale J Biol Med. 2017 March; 90(1): 160.
Published online 2017 March 29.
PMCID: PMC5369039
Focus: Drug Development

Textbook of Drug Design and Discovery, Fifth Edition

Reviewed by Nathan Fons

Kristian Strømgaard, Povl Krogsgaard-Larsen, Ulf Madsen 
Textbook of Drug Design and Discovery, Fifth Edition.
2017. CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group): Boca Raton, Florida. ISBN: (Hardcover) 978-1498702782. US $94.04. 436 p.

In this fifth edition of the Textbook of Drug Design and Discovery, readers are guided through the exciting, yet often complex world of modern medicinal chemistry. Beginning with an introduction of general principles regarding chemical design and drug binding, the authors tackle difficult concepts in both physics and biochemistry in an easy to follow text. The discussion moves on to detail the diverse spectrum of drug types ranging from natural products to peptide-based therapies and provides a good overview of the sheer breadth of the field of drug design. From this, the authors move on to explore common drug targets within the cell, including: enzymes, receptors, and ion channels. Within these chapters are provided numerous real-life examples that document the discovery and development of powerful therapies now actively used in the clinic. Meriting further investigation, the book then delves into the world of neurotransmitter systems. Providing a wide range of examples, the authors describe the complex nature of these drug targets and shed some light on how they can be exploited for therapeutic gain. Lastly, the authors describe common drug properties and modalities used for the intervention and treatment of cancer, infections, and other diseases. They detail how treatments have changed over time and provide insight into the new and exciting work currently on going in these disciplines.

The Textbook of Drug Design and Discovery is intended for upper level undergraduate and postgraduate researchers interested in the topic of medicinal chemistry. While some knowledge of organic chemistry is recommended, most of the chemistry-heavy sections are well explained and clear. Similarly, the biological concepts and disease related terms covered in the book are described extensively and allow for a thorough understanding of the subject matter. This book is also recommended for those experts outside of chemical biology, who wish to partake in translational, clinically motivated projects. The historical references and noteworthy case studies presented provide an excellent framework for laying the foundation for new research in the many different fields discussed. Likewise, for those interested in industry, this book provides insight into the minds of medicinal chemists, as they develop and improve on lead compounds destined for clinical trials.

Overall, this book proves to be a great resource in navigating the multifaceted landscape of medicinal chemistry. While the concepts can get dry at times, the numerous real-world examples and descriptive figures make for a very informative and manageable read. The authors and the many experts who contributed to this work have done well in keeping up with a fast-paced field, making this new edition an excellent textbook for any researcher interested in the subject of drug design and discovery.

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