SCIENTISTS DEVELOPING ARTIFICIAL VOCAL CORDS

Aug 22, 2012

By Scott Walker

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It could give new life to singers with damaged vocal cords.

A team of US scientists say they will be able to test new synthetic tissue next year that could be injected into vocal cords.

When cords are damaged through vocal strain or surgery, they create scar tissue that makes them less flexible and results in hoarseness.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are testing a gel called polyethylene glycol 30. Professor Robert Langer says, “The gel flutters in response to air pressure changes, just like the real thing.”

The project has the backing of Dame Julie Andrews, whose vocal cords were ruined by a throat operation in 1997.

The research, which is still a long way from becoming practical in humans, was discussed at the American Chemical Society’s meeting in Philadelphia.

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