It would be great if there were a simple cure for
hemophilia. As you know, people with hemophilia
have blood that does not clot well. They can
have severe bleeding, even from a small injury.
Some diseases can be cured by killing the bacteria
that causes them. Some diseases can be prevented
with vaccines against viruses. But Hemophilia
is not caused by a germ.
Hemophilia is caused by a small problem in the
DNA (mutation). There are many proteins
involved in making our blood clot. If the recipe
for even one of these proteins is changed,
clotting may be slow, or less effective, or not
happen at all.There are actually many types of
hemophilia depending on which protein recipe
(gene) has a mutation. Safely giving a person
a missing gene is not easy. The gene has to get to
the right kind of cells without damaging the cells
and causing other problems, like cancer. No one
has found a solution to that problem yet.
Right now, there are only treatments, not
cures. A person with hemophilia might need
platelets or proteins called clotting
factors. Platelets are pieces of special blood
cells. They help to plug up a wound. Clotting
factors work with the platelets to make a better
plug. One treatment takes clotting factors from
the plasma of healthy people and gives them to
people with hemophilia. Clotting factors can also
be produced by other animals and given to people.
Other times, people get platelets from donors.
I am a platelet donor. Once every few weeks, I go
to our local blood center and spend an hour or two
reading while a machine takes my blood, separates
out the platelets, and returns the rest of the
blood to my vein. Some of the people who get my
platelets have hemophilia. Some have cancer.
Some may have had an accident or surgery that used
up all of their own platelets. Others have other
blood diseases. Sometimes they take plasma too.
They can get clotting factors from my plasma.
Most of the genes that help with clotting are on
the X chromosome. This means that males are much
more likely than females to have hemophilia.Can
you figure out why?
You may want to study physiology or genetics to
learn more about hemophilia.
Thanks for asking,