NIAMS scientists have successfully created a model to study a rare bone disorder called melorheostosis. They took skin cells from people with this condition, converted them into stem cells, (e.g., induced pluripotent stem cells or iPSCs) and found that these cells had increased activity of a specific protein called MEK1, leading to excessive bone growth. This overgrowth appears to be driven by the release of a growth factor called VEGF. By modifying VEGF activity, researchers hope to find a potential treatment for this rare disease. This approach of using iPSCs could also be applied to study other rare bone disorders.

What is exciting about this article?

Melorheostosis is a debilitating disease with no treatment. The knowledge gained from this study opens the door to exploring potential treatments by targeting VEGF activity with the anti-cancer drug bevacizumab. Furthermore, the use of iPSCs in this research could have broader applications for studying and treating other rare bone diseases, making it an exciting development in the field of rare disease research.

Grant support


Research Areas:

Cell Biology Epidemiology Genetics and Genomics Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Stem Cell Biology


VEGF Secretion Drives Bone Formation in Classical MAP2K1+ Melorheostosis.

Allbritton-King JD, Maity J, Patel A, Colbert RA, Navid F, Bhattacharyya T
J Bone Miner Res.
2023 Dec;
doi: 10.1002/jbmr.4915
PMID: 37737377

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIHʼs National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.