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Human papillomaviruses. Clinical and Scientific Advances.
  1. Richard Lau
  1. St George’s Hospital, London, UK

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    Ed JC Sterling, SK Tyring. Pp 153; £65.00. London: Arnold Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-340-74215-1.

    Most of us have had an encounter with warts at some time in our lives. We try to freeze, poison, or corrode them, occasionally resorting to surgery, laser vaporisation and, latterly, immunotherapy. Our modest success at treatment only underscores the general public’s perception that warts are a common but incurable nuisance. All this trouble from a family of viruses with a host range that spans the animal kingdom and an astonishing spectrum of disease manifestations. The development and subsequent exploitation of increasingly sophisticated molecular techniques over the past 30 years have led to a rapid increase in the understanding of the biology of papillomaviruses, especially human papillomaviruses (HPVs). Much of this effort has focused on the propensity of certain HPV types to contribute to malignant transformation and, increasingly, on the potential for developing more effective therapies, including vaccines to prevent HPV associated cancers.

    Jane Sterling and Stephen Tyring have managed to assemble a panel of clinical and scientific experts working on HPV and have produced a highly readable and concise account of the recent advances in our understanding of this fascinating infection. The chapters are laid out logically in three main parts—Molecular and Cellular Aspects, Diseases and Infections, and Future Prospects: treatment and basic research. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout, providing greater clarity in explaining complex molecular mechanisms as well as good clinical examples of the different types of HPV related diseases. Some overlap in coverage is inevitable in a multiauthor textbook but this does not detract from the consistently high quality of the finished product.

    This book is ideal for both junior and senior staff who need to acquire some knowledge of the mechanisms and spectrum of HPV disease. The scientific reviews should prove useful to those sitting for postgraduate examinations and other (mischievous) purposes. Those of you who may have grown rather neurodystrophic from the HIV arrivistes’ staff room chants of Intention to Treat, BLQ (I was always under the impression they were talking about bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches), CYP3A4 inhibition, and K103N at every available opportunity will welcome this slim, lean textbook. A sharp riposte on the lines of, “that’s all very well, but did you know that the HPV 16 and 18 E7, like E1A and SV40 large T bind to the family of cellular proteins which include pRb, p107, and p130 and that the latter two complex with regulators of the cell cycle including members of the E2F family, cyclin A, and cyclin E, and participate in the regulation of both G1 and G2 cell cycle blocks . . .?” [p 26] should be sufficient to keep their overblown egos in check, albeit temporarily.