Invention Reference Number
The Nell1 gene codes for a secreted protein signaling cells to differentiate into specific cell types such as osteoblasts (bone formation) and chondrocytes (cartilage formation). We have recently discovered that in addition to its roles in bone and cartilage development, this protein is also essential for normal cardiovascular development (particularly the heart and blood vessels) and is expressed in skeletal muscle. These novel scientific findings have led to an invention of using the expressed and purified Nell1 protein or Nell1-expressing cells along with mesenchymal or adult stem cells for the repair and regeneration of damaged cardiac muscles and blood vessels. The Nell1 protein or cells can be co-delivered with the stem cells directly to the damaged sites using biological matrices or direct injection methods already in practice for cell-based therapies.