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WAO Medical Book Review

Posted: May 2010

Immunology: A Short Course, 6th Edition
Authors: Richard Coico and Geoffrey Sunshine
Copyright: 2009 Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN: 978-0-470-08158-7

Price: US $57.95
Paperback, 416 pages
Available at Wiley

Karuna Keat, MBBS
Campbelltown Hospital
University of Western Sydney
Cambelltown, NSW Australia

Immunology is an ever developing science with new breakthroughs. It is perceived to be a difficult subject by both undergraduate medical and science students. However, a sound knowledge of immunology is essential for the understanding of disease processes and new breakthroughs in many aspects of medicine and science.

The purpose of this book is to provide students an easy-to-understand text that introduces them to immunology. It is designed to be concise yet comprehensive coverage of all the key topics in basic immunology.

Immunology: A Short Course is targeted to undergraduate students and teachers of immunology. It appears ideally suited to those who wish to grasp and understand immunology concepts without being confused with extensive detail.

The first few chapters of the book offer an overview of the immune system that is also easy to read, and provide a map upon which the remainder of the book expands. This text incorporates coverage of new topics such as toll like receptors, mucosal immunity and the autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene in self tolerance and autoimmunity. Bulleted summaries and review questions with detailed answers highlight important concepts within each chapter. The diagrams are simple to understand and are not overly complicated. There is an extensive glossary which is useful to reinforce an understanding of common terms used in immunology. Its final chapters deal with topics related to the clinical sciences such as hypersensitivity, transplantation, tumor immunology and immunology related to infectious diseases.

This is an ideal textbook that suits its purpose of introducing students to basic immunology concepts. The well-constructed overview of the immune system is crucial for ensuring that readers are not confused with immunology's intricacies. Readers who are interested in a more in-depth understanding of clinical immunological diseases are referred to the new text's companion book, Immunology: Clinical Case Studies and Disease Pathophysiology (2009 Wiley-Blackwell).

Immunology: A Short Course is not a book for those who are already proficient in basic immunology concepts; however, it may serve as an excellent resource for teaching novices of immunology. Overall, this book is ideal to for introducing readers to the evolving science of immunology.