Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
To the textbooks addressing a single discipline and its group of diseases, editors have recently added a profusion of interdisciplinary books straddling disciplines and specialties, devoted to phenomena they have in common. This enterprising book takes on the concept of autoimmunity, which, as the foreword points out, is barely 100 years old and owes most of its content to the past few decades.
Although the mapping of the human genome comes too late to be included, it is obvious that genetic factors play an important role in the responses that this book includes, and a short chapter sets that stage. Yet, research is moving so fast that it has already yielded the answers to questions this book poses. As an example, the importance of tumor necrosis factor-α in fueling chronic inflammation receives mention, and it is noted in two chapters that attempts to make it a therapeutic target have begun. However, the realization of these attempts and their regulatory approval and application in practice are only foreshadowed in the text, although they have become a reality within a year of the book's publication. Despite the time lag, the volume provides the basics for the role of autoimmunity in medicine and research.
Autoimmune DiseasesTextbook of the Autoimmune Diseases. JAMA. 2001;285(22):2912-2913. doi:10.1001/jama.285.22.2912-JBK0613-2-1