A new era for fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva: A druggable target for the second skeleton

Frederick S. Kaplan, David L. Glaser, Robert J. Pignolo, Eileen M. Shore

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a disabling genetic condition that leads to the formation of a second (heterotopic) skeleton, and is the most catastrophic disorder of heterotopic ossification in humans. Throughout childhood and early adult life, FOP progressively immobilizes all of the joints of the normotopic skeleton, rendering movement impossible. At present, there is no effective prevention or treatment. Recently, a recurrent mutation in the glycine-serine activation domain of the activin receptor 1A/activin-like kinase-2, a bone morphogenetic protein type I receptor, was reported in all sporadic and familial cases of classic FOP, making this one of the most highly specific disease-causing mutations in the human genome. The discovery of the FOP gene establishes a critical milestone in understanding FOP, reveals a highly conserved druggable target in the TGF-β/bone morphogenetic protein signaling pathway and compels therapeutic approaches for the development of small molecule signal transduction inhibitors for activin-like kinase-2. Effective therapies for FOP, and possibly for a vast array of more common conditions of heterotopic ossification, will be based on blocking activin-like kinase-2, a critical node in the BMP signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-712
Number of pages8
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Activin receptor IA
  • Activin-like kinase-2
  • Activin-like kinases
  • Bone morphogenetic protein
  • Bone morphogenetic protein receptors
  • Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Metamorphosis
  • Small molecule signal transduction inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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