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Frontiers in Antimicrobial Resistance: A Tribute to Stuart B. Levy

Editors: David G. White, Michael N. Alekshun, Patrick F. McDermott
Content Type: Monograph
Format: Electronic, Hardcover
Publication Year: 2005

Category: Bacterial Pathogenesis

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offers a unique examination of the state of antimicrobial and anticancer drug resistance. Written by acknowledged experts who have spent time in Dr. Levy's laboratory or who have otherwise collaborated with him professionally, this volume is a tribute to Dr. Levy and acknowledges his significant contributions to the field.

A state-of-the-art review comprising 40 chapters in seven sections, the book opens with a foreword by Dr. Joshua Lederberg. The body of the text features descriptions of the major mechanisms and the epidemiology of resistance and explores the current policy and education efforts toward maintaining drug efficacy. Special emphasis is placed on those areas where Dr. Levy stimulated scientific advancement through his own research and that of his students, research fellows, and colleagues. The chapters are unified in theme; however, each stands alone in conveying the author's individual perspectives regarding the issue of antimicrobial resistance.

is a major resource for infectious disease specialists, medical practitioners, and students interested in a review of the accumulated research on resistance among important clinical pathogens.

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Clinical Infectious Diseases

12 February 2014

Usually, books published by ASM Press are simple to review, because they have a single objective. Either they cover the scientific knowledge pertaining to a define topic of microbiology, or they deal with the biography of a particularly preeminent scientist. The review of Frontiers in Antimicrobial Resistance: A Tribute to Stuart B. Levy is more complex, because this book is unique, in that it has both of the abovementioned objectives, which are addressed concomitantly. Indeed, it first provides the reader with the most advanced, up-to-date, and comprehensive knowledge regarding the molecular basis and phenotypic consequences of bacterial resistance to antimicrobials. Second, it evidences how much the work of Stuart Levy has been important in these developments, not only in cumulating knowledge and basic scientific findings in the field, but also in bringing the scientific community, as well as the general public, to a full understanding of the consequences of the resistance phenomenon. It also addresses how Stuart Levy has been (and still is) a man of action, structuring organizations, both profit and nonprofit, with the unique goal of decreasing bacterial resistance and controlling the public health burden that is associated with it.

I will not say much about the scientific quality of the chapters that describe the mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance. They are outstanding, for a simple reason: the authors of the various chapters are, each in their own field, among those who have made the most important breakthroughs in that particular domain. For each particular field of expertise, the busy reader can jump to the specific chapter that interests him or her most and find there a comprehensive overview of the topic. I would make a special mention of the sixth section, which covers drug resistance in cancer cells. It is a field that is usually poorly understood by those who deal with antimicrobial resistance, because most often (at least in Europe), the field is, by convention, limited to antibacterial drugs. Thus, this section is, for many of us, a unique opportunity to broaden the scope of our own understanding of resistance. It also evidences how much Stuart Levy has managed to create bridges between various scientific fields.

In addition to this, the overall organization of the 7 sections of the book tells us a story. Except for the first section (which deals with tetracycline and resistance, and which has been excerpted, because the role of Stuart Levy has been so important with regard to these subjects), the 6 other sections follow a precise order that, if the sections are read in a row, helps the reader to understand how resistance has been progressing from single drug–resistance mechanisms to multiple ones and from commensal bacteria to pathogens. The organization of the sections helps the tenacious and willing reader to understand why resistance to antimicrobials is a matter that can be fully understand only with the eyes of an ecologist; why its scope is not limited to human and veterinary medicine, but also encompasses food and agriculture; and why it can be dealt only with tools that are used to control other major environmental and sustainable-development problems. Lastly, in the 4 chapters of section 7, the reader will discover how, due in large part to the work of Stuart Levy, there may be ways to reduce the threat that bacterial resistance currently poses to public health. Those chapters include a full description of the organizational efforts of Stuart Levy, both in the development of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (now a worldrecognized organization) and in the development of Paratek Pharmaceuticals, which intends to open a scientific front in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

How, then, does the book deal with its second, more personal objective, concerning Stuart Levy’s kaleidoscopic contribution to progress in the field antimicrobial resistance? Well, it does so in many and subtle ways. First, it does so by including a series of formal and informal pictures of Stuart Levy, which cover a vast array of his scientific, as well as parascientific, activities over a large period of time. These pictures open the book just after Josua Lederberg, in a short but highly dedicated foreword, has reminded us of how brilliant and important were the beginnings of Stuart Levy’s carrier in the field of bacterial resistance. Then, it does so by touching, in many chapters, on the historical means by which Levy was involved in so many important discoveries in the field of resistance. Lastly, it does so by turning to very personal aspects of his scientific life, both as a poet (as the reader is reminded by Julian Davies) and as a good and challenging twin (in the conclusion by his brother, Jay).

Altogether, the book is unusual, clever, challenging, and appealing. A “must” for all, whatever their age or their medical and scientific position, who care for treating infectious diseases and want to help to prolong the “antibiotic miracle.” 

Acknowledgments

Potential conflicts of interest. A.A. has received recent research funding from Sanofi Aventis Laboratories and is a consultant for Sanofi Aventis Laboratories and Da Volterra.

Clinical Infectious Diseases

CID 2006:42 (1 June) • 1659

Reviewer: Antoine Andremont, Groupe Hospitalier Bichat-Claude Bernard, Laboratoire de Bacte´riologie, Paris, France

Review Date: June 2006

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