The X-linked bleeding disorder hemophilia is caused by mutations in coagulation factor VIII (hemophilia A) or factor IX (hemophilia B). Unless prophylactic treatment is provided, patients with severe disease (less than 1% clotting activity) typically experience frequent spontaneous bleeds. Current treatment is largely based on intravenous infusion of recombinant or plasma-derived coagulation factor concentrate. More effective factor products are being developed. Moreover, gene therapies for sustained correction of hemophilia are showing much promise in preclinical studies and in clinical trials. These advances in molecular medicine heavily depend on availability of well-characterized small and large animal models of hemophilia, primarily hemophilia mice and dogs. Experiments in these animals represent important early and intermediate steps of translational research aimed at development of better and safer treatments for hemophilia, such a protein and gene therapies or immune tolerance protocols. While murine models are excellent for studies of large groups of animals using genetically defined strains, canine models are important for testing scale-up and for long-term follow-up as well as for studies that require larger blood volumes.
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