Inhibitor formation is among the most severe complications of hemophilia treatment. With a cumulative incidence of ∼30% in those with severe hemophilia A and ∼3% in those with severe hemophilia B, inhibitors are caused by a T-cell response directed against infused coagulation factor; these inhibitors neutralize factor VIII or IX activity and disrupt normal hemostasis. Inhibitor patients become unresponsive to standard factor treatment and, as an alternative, use bypass treatment (eg, recombinant factor VIIa or factor VIII inhibitor bypass activity). However, response to bypass agents is poorer and the burden of disease is higher, with greater morbidity, hospitalization, cost, and mortality, than in noninhibitor patients. Furthermore, inhibitor formation interferes with prophylaxis to prevent bleeding episodes and is a contraindication to gene therapy. Thus, more effective therapies for inhibitor patients are greatly needed. In the last several years, there has been an explosion of novel alternative hemostatic agents for hemophilia patients with and without inhibitors. These agents take advantage of technologic manipulation of coagulation factors and natural anticoagulants to promote hemostasis. The approaches include the following: (1) mutants or mimics of coagulation factors, rendering them resistant to natural anticoagulants; or (2) knock-down or disruption of natural anticoagulants, preventing degradation of coagulation factors. The purpose of this article was to review these novel alternative hemostatic agents and their mechanisms of action, as well as the preliminary pharmacokinetic, safety, and efficacy data available from early-phase clinical trials.
© 2016 by The American Society of Hematology. All rights reserved.