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The Quest for the Cure: The Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines Hardcover – June 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
The dearth of promising new treatments for many a serious disease remains a major challenge not just for the pharmaceutical industry but for all of society. In this exhaustively researched book, Brent R. Stockwell surveys the history of drug development and offers insightful suggestions for innovative new approaches. This is critical reading for the many involved in and concerned about this urgent issue.(Robert Bazell, chief science correspondent, NBC News, and author of Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer)
This is a terrific book! Stockwell's writing is clear and engaging as he presents a thoughtful analysis of drug development that can be understood and appreciated by a diverse readership. Stockwell beautifully combines scientific history and personal anecdotes with clear explanations of the principles and practices of chemical biology to make a fascinating story of the past, present, and future of drug discovery. His book is informative, accurate, and a good read all put together.(Geoffrey Cooper, Boston University, author of The Cell: A Molecular Approach and Oncogenes)
This is a truly wonderful book. Stockwell's writing will open the door to a universe that many readers may know little about. Drugs are born, biotech companies are created, scientists' careers are made and unmade, egos are raised and dashed. This book is so readable, it is an absolute page-turner. Yet it is also authoritative and scientifically sophisticated, managing to distill a complex, changing field into a beautifully written, well-crafted story.(Siddhartha Mukherjee, Columbia University, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer)
By providing accessible explanations for the underlying biological and chemical principles that apply to the complex solutions he describes, Stockwell enables even the scientifically unsophisticated reader to gain a wider perspective on what future disease treatment might entail.(Publishers Weekly)
This very readable, even exciting work takes us through the medical breakthroughs of the past century.(Globe and Mail)
This book deserves a readership, and there is certainly a need for it. As a drug companyresearcher, I have often wished that more people understood what the field was likeand how simultaneously fascinating and frustrating it can be.(Derek B. Lowe Cell)
In this well-researched look into the complexities of making medicines, a chemical biologist gives a history of drug making and details innovative methods of drug discovery.(Science News)
Despite our current political paralysis, government leaders should listen to Stockwell and be certain to advance our capacity to generate the drugs that our society and the world need.(Harvard Magazine)
The book is well organized and includes many interesting, clever analogies to explain what can be complicated scientific problems.(Choice)
An engaging and rewarding read...(Donald C. Lo Journal of Clinical Investigation)
The reader is not only left with a satisfying overview of the proud history and future challenges of finding new medicines but also encouragement that Stockwell and his contemporaries are creatively committed to academic drug discovery.(David Kroll Nature Chemistry)
Stockwell writes well―his prose is accessible to the educated reader, irrespective of his or her background. All of the personalities, errors and successes in contemporary drug discovery are presented. Stockwell enlivens their stories with anecdotes...(Garrett A. FitzGerald Nature Medicine)
It is impossible to read this relatively short book...without being captured by the author's optimism about the future of drug development.(Robert C. Young, M.D. Oncology Times)
Top Customer Reviews
(Review adapted from my blog; free advance copy provided by the publisher)
At the very outset, Stockwell provides a succinct explanation of why drug discovery is far more challenging than what one may imagine - by focusing on the actual mechanics of "small drug molecules" and proteins involved in disease progression. (A reader can easily grasp this complexity when Stockwell highlights that only 2% of the proteins are now considered "druggable" and the generally risk-averse scientists typically tend to focus only on this minority due to commercial considerations.) The discussion on how drugs actually work may be of interest to the average reader. He then describes (with various examples) various drug discovery mechanisms and a history of cancer drugs. The role of luck in discoveries, of course, is well known...but through these discussions, one gets to appreciate not only the role of luck but also of perseverance and a systematic approach to design experiments. A subsequent chapter on the author's entrepreneurial experience provides some insights on the potential of studying combinations of approved drugs - but the narration is too focused on the company history, a reader is likely to be distracted.
The second part starts with an introduction to promising emerging techniques of drug discovery including structure-based designs, virtual screening, and fragment-based screening.Read more ›
I gave the book four stars, instead of 5 since the author primarily covered areas of his research experience, Most notably there is nothing on different computational methods that have been in development in the last 30 years, also computational methods are not included in discussing the future. I would not go into analysis why computational methods are missing, Simply this book is interesting, and it could have been great if some areas are not missing.
In conclusion, if there is a second edition, with few additions it could be a great text to read.Good luck in your lives folks, Cheers.
Dr. Stockwell took the time in his book to explain the technology involved in discovering (or generating?) new drugs. You are going to finish this book knowing a lot more about biotechnology than when you started. That said, I can imagine that this book would be challenging to read to people outside the scientific community (I myself am a student).
I was a bit disappointed with the ending of the book. The author took great care to painstakingly explain several new important technologies. Then, at the end of the book, the author listed several other remaining technologies, all important, without describing them. I wished he would have spent more time explaining the future uses of siRNA and gene therapy. This is probably because these areas of research are outside the authors field of work, which I infer is Chemistry and not biology.
I recommend this text to anyone interested in the drug discovery field.
It instilled in me a sense of curiosity and wonderment in the drug development process that I never imagined before. Chemistry and biology stopped being dry, rote topics and became living breathing subjects that affect my everyday well-being.
Congratulations to the author for his mastery in explaining these challenging topics in easy to understand, accessible language. The book is a great accomplishment.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent and accessible look at the history of cancer cure. Filled with interesting facts presented with clarity with appeal for scientists as well as laymen.Published on March 27, 2014 by Manish Kumar
This book is interesting and was in great shape upon arrival. The author writes in a very current style and I was able to follow along just fine.Published on July 30, 2013 by Shelley
The author seems to have used this book as a vehicle to promote his own apparent stature in academia. Not at all compelling reading. Read morePublished on March 7, 2013 by Asher Schachter
This is just a wonderful book! It is a delightful reading that will take you from the beginning of the drug discoveries to the latest researches in molecular biology. Read morePublished on May 15, 2012 by J. C. Arpirez Vega
This book is on the Rorotoko list. Professor Stockwell's interview on "The Quest for the Cure" ran as the Rorotoko Cover Feature on July 25, 2011 (and can be read in the Rorotoko... Read morePublished on October 8, 2011 by ROROTOKO
This is a well written history of drug discovery and future prospects for drugging the undrugable. In summary, there are a lot of drugs but they target only a small percentage of... Read morePublished on September 29, 2011 by Vigyanik