Among the urinary tract's malignancies, bladder cancer is the most frequent one: it is at the tenth position of most common cancers worldwide. Currently, the gold standard therapy consists of radical cystectomy, which results in the need to create a urinary diversion using a bowel segment from the patient. Nevertheless, due to several complications associated with bowel resection and anastomosis, which significantly affect patient quality of life, it is becoming extremely important to find an alternative solution. In our recent work, we proposed the decellularized porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) as a candidate material for urinary conduit substitution. In the present study, we create SIS-based hybrid membranes that are obtained by coupling decellularized SIS with two commercially available polycarbonate urethanes (Chronoflex AR and Chronoflex AR-LT) to improve SIS mechanical resistance and impermeability. We evaluated the hybrid membranes by means of immunofluorescence, two-photon microscopy, FTIR analysis, and mechanical and cytocompatibility tests. The realization of hybrid membranes did not deteriorate SIS composition, but the presence of polymers ameliorates the mechanical behavior of the hybrid constructs. Moreover, the cytocompatibility tests demonstrated a significant increase in cell growth compared to decellularized SIS alone. In light of the present results, the hybrid membrane-based urinary conduit can be a suitable candidate to realize a urinary diversion in place of an autologous intestinal segment. Further efforts will be performed in order to create a cylindrical-shaped hybrid membrane and to study its hydraulic behavior.
Keywords: biomaterial; decellularization; hybrid materials; hybrid membranes; polycarbonate urethane; regenerative medicine; small intestinal submucosa; tissue engineering; urinary diversions.