Protein-permeable dense (non-porous) urethane membranes have been evaluated for in vitro cell culture, and in vivo cell encapsulation. Polyurethane membranes were designed to exhibit permeability to proteins, gases, and nutrients without the existence of pores. The membranes are non-cytotoxic, angiogenic, and permeable to gases, nutrients, secretagogues and cell products via purely concentration-driven transport. Non-anchorage and anchorage dependent cells were grown encapsulated within the membrane and with the membrane as a growth substrate. Several non-anchorage dependent cell types proliferated within the membrane both in-vitro and in-vivo. Anchorage-dependent cells were grown on the membranes as a substrate. Encapsulated cells have been maintained in culture for up to six months with nutrients supplied only by the external media. Immuno-isolation has been demonstrated with cells implanted into murine hosts. Explants of membrane encapsulated cells exhibited a high degree of vascularization, with little or no fibrous tissue. The ability to support cell growth and function, and the ability to protect xenogenic cells from immunologic rejection suggest that the membranes would be useful in the construction of hybrid artificial organs, devices for cell transplantation, and substrates for cell and tissue culture.