The history of haemophilia - a short review

Thromb Res. 2014 Nov:134 Suppl 1:S4-9. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2013.10.020. Epub 2014 Feb 7.


The history of haemophilia dates back to the 2nd century AD, with the first "modern" descriptions of the condition appearing during the 1800s. At that time, transfusion medicine and haemophilia became closely linked, with blood transfusion being the only possible treatment option. A turning point in the history of haemophilia came in the middle of the 20th century when researchers identified an "antihaemophilic globulin" that could reduce the clotting time in haemophilic blood, thereby paving the way for the introduction of cryoprecipitate and the first clotting factor concentrates for the treatment of haemophilia A, haemophilia B and von Willebrand disease. The availability of pasteurized, and therefore virus-safe, plasma-derived, clotting factor concentrates, such as Haemate P(®) and Beriate(®) P in Germany and other countries, dramatically improved the quality of life and life expectancy of haemophilia patients. These and other treatment advances enabled home treatment, with many centres introducing prophylaxis to younger patients. Today, thanks to the support from patient organizations, such as the German Haemophilia Society, which was founded by Prof. Rudolf Marx from Munich, haemophilia patients can be assured of good bleeding control using products with established efficacy and safety profiles. Work on improving factor concentrates continues, with efforts directed towards extending their half-lives using recombinant albumin-fused proteins and other modern technologies. The past 20 years has witnessed major improvements in almost all aspects of haemophilia treatment. It is hoped the next 20 years will add promising new chapters to the haemophilia book of history.

Keywords: Beriate(®) P; Factor VIII; Haemate(®) P; Haemophilia A; History; Transfusion medicine.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion / history
  • Blood Transfusion / methods
  • Drug Discovery
  • Factor VIII / history
  • Factor VIII / therapeutic use
  • Hemophilia A / history*
  • Hemophilia A / therapy*
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Transfusion Medicine / history
  • Transfusion Medicine / methods


  • Factor VIII