Structure-based drug discovery. An overview

Structure-based drug discovery. An overview 

R A Hubbard (ed) 

Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemistry  |  2006 | 270pp | ?74.95 (HB) | ISBN 0854043519 

Reviewed by Richard Lewis

This book sets out to cover the methods and concepts used in structure-based drug design, and to a large extent, it achieves this goal.  

The use of three case studies to illustrate the methods, and to highlight the reduction to practice is particularly nice; they are both a celebration of the skills of drug designers, and a sobering reminder of how many daunting obstacles lie between the inception of a project and the approval of a drug (although the essay on neuraminidase came over as slightly curmudgeonly in tone).  

The chapters on methods vary considerably in pace: fragment screening lies at one end of the spectrum, with a good didactic overview, while the chapter on nuclear magnetic resonance methods was overly detailed and would pass well over the head of most non-experts in the field (this reviewer included). 

This is a nicely produced book, with good artwork reinforcing the text - the references were pretty current, and the content does reflect the state of the art. The book will have most impact with those who already have some experience of drug discovery.   

For postdocs and others seeking an entry to the field, the density of concepts and information might prove to be an overly rich meal to digest all at once; this is a tome for more measured consideration in tandem with some practical attempts to look at x-ray complexes.  

I can warmly recommend this book to those about to embark on a structure-based drug design project. There are very few of us who will invent a drug, but by using the techniques described, you will shorten your own odds considerably.