Abstract

von Willebrand disease (VWD) is characterized by its heterogeneous clinical manifestation, which complicates its diagnosis and management. The clinical management of VWD has remained essentially unchanged over the last 30 years or so, using von Willebrand factor (VWF) concentrates, desmopressin, and anti–fibrinolytic agents as main tools to control bleeding. This is in contrast to hemophilia A, for which a continuous innovative path has led to novel treatment modalities. Despite current VWD management being considered effective, quality-of-life studies consistently reveal a higher than anticipated burden of VWD on patients, which is particularly true for women. Apparently, despite our perceived notion of current therapeutic efficiency, there is space for innovation with the goal of reaching superior efficacy. Developing innovative treatments for VWD is complex, especially given the heterogeneity of the disease and the multifunctional nature of VWF. In this perspective article, we describe several potential strategies that could provide the basis for future VWD treatments. These include genetic approaches, such as gene therapy using dual-vector adenoassociated virus and transcriptional silencing of mutant alleles. Furthermore, protein-based approaches to increase factor FVIII levels in VWD-type 3 or 2N patients are discussed. Finally, antibody-based options to interfere with VWF degradation (for congenital VWD-type 2A or acquired von Willebrand syndrome-type 2A) or increase endogenous VWF levels (for VWD-type 1) are presented. By highlighting these potential strategies, we hope to initiate an innovative path, which ultimately would allow us to better serve VWD patients and their specific needs.

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