Medicinal chemistry. Vol. II

Medicinal chemistry. Vol. II

BOOK REVIEWS 497 The remaining chapters vary greatly in scope and merit. With some exceptions, as intelligible statements of advances they suffer f...

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497

The remaining chapters vary greatly in scope and merit. With some exceptions, as intelligible statements of advances they suffer fatally from preoccupation with isotopes, even though the authors are interested in the biologlcal problems and are well qualified to discuss them. This leads Dr. Tarver, for instance, to describe methods of synthesizing compounds containing radioactive sulfur which can be of little interest to anybody who is not planning to work with this element. In other cases the authors have made no attempt to lay a broad foundation for their discussion or to place the publications they review into a perspective with meaning for the unspecialized reader. The reader may indeed be left with the impression that the use of isotopes has superseded most of the traditional methods, although he may notice, for instance, in reading Dr. Charles Heidelberger’s business-like chapter on carbon isotopes and animal metabolism, that the Krebs cycle, formulated before isvtopes became fashionable, is still the best key we have to the complexities of fatty acid oxidation and several related processes. The most readable among this group of chapters is that of Drs. Strajman and Pace, which deals with the study, in tivo, of the dynamics of transfer of biologically important substances between blood and tissues; but it, too, suffers from.the absence of background and standards of comparison. The application of this approach in clinical diagnosis is treated authoritatively by Dr. Edith Quimby. Finally there are two chapters which are more like interim reports than broad estimates of advances. Dr. Hardin Jones’s chapter, on the transfer of dissolved substances in relation to blood flow, has the merit of including inert gas studies. It could also have performed a valuable service as a physicochemical and statistical supplement’ to Strajman and Pace’s chapter. Unhappily the author seems to regard as almost axiomatic an interpretation that, as far as one is aware, has never received detailed vindication. This is the proposition that the transfer of dissolved substances in the body can usually be analyzed reproducibly into a set of one or more exponential processes. Some of the equations given contain as many as five time constants. Dr. John Gofman’s chapter describes an interesting preliminary attempt to correlate the presence of certain ultracentrifugally detectable lipoproteins in human serum with the occurrence of atherosclerosis, and to determine what part they play in pathogenesis. The report would have profited by a clearer statement of ideas, by a more systematic presentation of data and their statistical analysis, and by a less repetitious style of writing. One feels, finally, that the title of this volume is misleading. As a somewhat arbitrary collection of articles on the significance of isotopes and ionizing radiations in biology, however, it is certain to be much in demand among those interested in the subject. J. B. BATEMAN, Frederick, Maryland

Medicinal Chemistry. Vol. II. By ALFRED BURQER, Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Interscience Publishers, Inc., New York, N. Y., 1951. xv + 505 pp. Price $10.00. The second volume of Dr. Burger’s work covers the main types of chemotherapeutic agents not discussed in Vol. I. These include the hormones; essential amino and fatty acids; dyestuffs; sulfonamides; antimalarials; metal-free drugs used in tropical diseases; antibiotics; antifungal agents; anthehnintics; organ0 compounds of arsenic,

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antimony, and bismuth; and antiseptics. In addition, chapters dealing with chemotherapy in general? theories of metabolite antagonism, chemotherapy of acid-fast infections, and sterilization and disinfection are included. As will be seen from the above resume of the contents of the book, Dr. Burger has attempted a seemingly impossible task in providing coverage in a relatively few pages for the prolilic work in the fields selected. The result has been somewhat unfortunate by virtue of superficial treat.ment of some fields. As stated in t,he preface, a chapt,er on hormones (il pp.) is included, but the major part of the book is devoted to chemotherapy of diseases caused by pathogenic organisms. This appears to be regrettable, for certainly the hormones rank high in the list of medicinal compounds. Further, but six pages are devoted to the non-steroidal hormones. In the chapter on metabolite antagonism considerable liberties have been taken in extending the concept to systems which are not commonly considered under this heading. The discussion of the sulfonamides is fairly comprehensive, and opportunity has been taken to present in some detail the various theories which have been put forward regarding the mechanism of action of these drugs. The chapter on antimalarials is, on the whole, satisfactory despite several errors both of omission and commission. This reviewer failed to find L. H. Schmidt’s critical study of the toxicity of t.he Saminoquinolines cited as well as the large series of papers dealing with definitive clinical appraisal of the 4aminoquinolines. The fact that 4,7-dichloroquinoline,is at present manufactured from oxalacetic ester, as well as a good review on the commercial process, has been omitted. In the chapter on antibiotics, major emphasis is placed on the historical and ztructural development of the major drugs. A critical discussion of the uses and limitations of the various antibiotics is relegated to a secondary place. The chapter on anthelmintics fails to include some of the more recently discovered agents. Throughout the volume major emphasis has been placed on the organic chemistry of the substances discussed. What has become current usage of the term “Medicinal Chemistry” is a source of great annoyance to this reviewer. Far better would be the term “Chemistry of Medicinal Compounds.” This statement applies strongly to the present work. In addition to this major emphasis on organic chemistry, discussions of modes of action and detoxication of many of the groups of agents are presented. A discussion of screening methods and the limitations thereof provides valuable background material for the reader. The pages are numbered consecutively through the two volumes, and a detailed cumulative index appears at the end of Vol. II. Dr. Burger is to be congratulated on his ambitious undertaking, which despite certain unavoidable shortcomings, will provide the reader with a good survey of the material covered. For such a comprehensive work he has done a most commendable job. ROBERT C. ELDERFIELD, Ann Arbor, Michigan Bacterial Physiology. Edited by C. H. WERK~WN and P. it::‘. ~~LILSON. Academic Press Inc., New York, 1951. xiv + 707 pp. Price $9.80. During the past fifteen years the number of people who have become interested in microbial physiology and biochemistry has increased spectacuIarIy. This has resulted in a greatly expanded output of papers on basic and applied aspects of the