Next Generation Biomaterial for Pelvic Reconstruction

Leading Edge Surgical Procedures and Research

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is involuntary leakage of urine due to weakening of pelvic muscles and ligaments which support the urethra. SUI occurs predominantly in the female population because of pregnancy and parity related trauma to the pelvic region. One in three women above the age 60 experience SUI. SUI is associated with a cost of tens of billions of dollars. Surgical treatment of SUI involve placement of a transvaginal sling. A sling is a tape-shaped biomaterial that supports and constricts the urethra to maintain continence. In 2012, 750,000 sling procedures/year were estimated in U.S. By 2020, number of procedures in the U.S is projected to reach 1,000,000/year. At the present, polypropylene slings are used as slings in majority of procedures with the rest being mostly limited to autografts.

New urinary incontinence treatments are being developed based on research conducted at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. Supported by a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant, our physician-scientists designed a proprietary biomaterial that can be used in sling surgery to avoid the use of polypropylene. The biomaterial is made with pure collagen threads formed by a novel, patented electrochemical compaction process. The threads can be formed into a strong biofabric that has shown to be effective in long-term animal studies, which also demonstrated durability comparable to existing polypropylene products, while showing better integration with tissue.

NIH Grant

Adonis Hijaz, MD & Ozan Akkus received $2M NIH SBIR award to create a collagen-based biomaterial to develop a urinary incontinence prevention sling. The sling prototype will eventually be implanted in patients to prevent incontinence.

Moreover, our team continue to explore alternative therapies of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) harnessing the promise of cellular and non-cellular regenerative therapies. Experiment in preclinical models of urinary incontinence show promising effect of both mesenchymal stem cells and non-cellular therapy with SDF-1.

The Grabowski Lab works on understanding how AR activity is regulated by interactions with transcription factors in prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia; and identifying novel drivers of enzalutamide resistance in prostate cancer—we use cell lines, mouse models, and human tissues.