Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is an inherited trait where an individual’s bleeds excessively. It is very rare that the vWD is acquired later in life due to autoantibodies. The impairment of protein called von Willebrand factor which is an important component in blood–clotting process. The vWF gene is located on chromosome 12. Types 1 and 2 are inherited as autosomal dominant traits and type 3 is inherited as autosomal recessive. Occasionally type 2 also inherits recessively.
Disease statistics: In large surveys in the Canada ≈6% of those aged ≥40 years are deficient of von Willebrand factor, with the prevalence of deficiency increasing. Closer to 20% have marginal status in later life. Mutations are also one of the reason for the disorder.
Treatment: The two main treatment possibilities for patients with von Willebrand disease (vWD) are desmopressin (DDAVP) and von Willebrand factor/factor VIII (vWF/FVIII) concentrates. DDAVP is a synthetic analogue of the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin; it has enhanced antidiuretic activity and no pressor activity related to vasopressin. Purified plasma-derived concentrates of vWF/FVIII are used for treatment of bleeds and for surgical prophylaxis when DDAVP is ineffective or contraindicated.
Research: This research carried in by the during the last few years, have been made to optimize existing therapies for VWD, but also to devise new approaches, such as inducing endogenous expression with interleukin-11, administering exogenous recombinant VWF, or introducing the protein via gene delivery.