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Von Willebrand Factor: Drug and Drug Target

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One of the key players in many thrombotic complications is von Willebrand factor (VWF), a large, multimeric glycoprotein that is present in plasma where it fulfils a crucial role in haemostasis. First, VWF recruits platelets to vascular lesions by acting as a linker molecule between the exposed collagen and free-flowing platelets in the circulation. Second, by serving as a carrier protein for the coagulation factor VIII, VWF protects this anti-haemophilic factor from rapid degradation. Quantitative or qualitative defects in VWF result in the most common bleeding disorder in man, known as von Willebrand disease, illustrating the central role of VWF in haemostasis. On the other hand, a thrombotic risk emerges when over-reactive VWF molecules can bind spontaneously to platelets. It is clear that because of its pivotal role in maintaining the fine balance between bleeding and thrombosis, VWF is an attractive but delicate drug target. This review focuses on the role of VWF in both haemostasis and thrombosis with special attention to the molecule as drug and drug target respectively.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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  • Cardiovascular & Hematological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for cardiovascular and hematological drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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