This book is aimed at presenting the basics and enthusing the young to take up the challenge of a career in the pharmaceutical industry
Chemistry and medicines: an introductory text
J R Hanson
Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemistry | 2006 | 192pp | ?27.50 (HB) | ISBN 9780854046454
Reviewed by Michael Waring
Medicinal chemistry comprises aspects of medicine, pharmacology and biochemistry but, above all, it involves chemistry if new drugs are to be discovered. It offers work for graduates who want to use their training to make a difference in the world. This book is aimed at presenting the basics and enthusing the young to take up the challenge of a career in the pharmaceutical industry. The author’s experience of giving short lecture courses qualifies him well for the task, and he has gone a long way towards his aim.
The organisation of the diverse subject-matter is impeccable. The book is a model of concise teaching where few words are wasted and topics are logically presented with a minimum of fuss. Here and there are interposed an anecdote or historical note to lighten the texture and illustrate the remarkable progress of the subject through happy (or unhappy) accident. At just 192 pages there is no room to present more than the fundamentals in pretty terse form, but the balance that is achieved between chemistry, biology and medicine is excellent. In places where the author goes into detail he chooses examples that lie at the heart of his subject and exemplify the approaches and methodology that are peculiar to medicinal chemistry.
Sadly, while the science and layout are good, the book is marred by a large number of trivial typos and small errors that could have been put right. Some are consistent, such as the insertion of a comma before every mention of the word ’which’, causing some sentences to read awkwardly or even distorting the meaning. Others are schoolboy howlers, like the formation of plagues (rather than plaques) in Alzheimer’s disease.