2020 Volume 68 Issue 3 Pages 194-200
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) are diseases that typically manifest in childhood and are associated with severely reduced life expectancy. However, there are currently no effective therapies for these diseases, which remain incurable. Activin receptor-like kinase-2 (ALK2), encoded by the ACVR1 gene, is a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type-I receptor subtype that plays an important physiological role in the development of bones, muscles, brain, and other organs. Constitutively active mutants of ALK2 have been identified as causative of FOP and involved in the tumorigenesis of DIPG owing to abnormal activation of BMP signaling, and therefore have emerged as promising treatment targets. Here, we describe these two diseases, along with the link to ALK2 signal transduction, and highlight potential ALK2 inhibitors that are under development to offer new hope for patients with FOP and DIPG.