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Von Willebrand factor (vWF) is a protein in the blood that is essential for normal blood clotting. vWF plays a key role in the initial stages of blood clotting by helping platelets adhere to damaged blood vessel walls and promoting the aggregation of platelets to form a clot. It also serves as a carrier protein for factor VIII, which is another important clotting factor in the blood. Deficiencies or abnormalities in vWF can lead to bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand disease, which is the most common inherited bleeding disorder.