The burning questions of heterotopic ossification

Chen Kan, Lixin Kan


Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a pathologic process of ectopic bone formation in soft tissues. HO could be a costly clinical complication, or a rare life threatening disorder. Recent findings from different labs have tremendously improved our understanding of this pathologic process, but many burning questions remain. For example: (I) how far do we still need to go to achieve a fairly complete understanding of this disorder? And where are we now? (II) what is/are the best way(s) to efficiently control this debilitating, yet heterogeneous disorder? Levi’s group (1) used a burn model to show us some novel intriguing insights of this pathologic process, and their finding, among others, actually raised more questions, which will be the major focus of this editorial. Indeed, even though it is our intention to put their finding in a right prospective, highlight the implications for both basic researches and clinical applications, identify the potential limitations and caveats, and discuss how to further address the potential issues in the future, the immediate goal of this editorial is raising awareness.