By Nick Gilbert
Scientists and physicians have collaborated to develop a material that can restore the flexibility lost in vocal cords due to the effects of disease and aging and also rejuvenates the voice of a person. Vocal cords can get damaged due to overuse, medical treatments and aging. Presently there are no treatments to restore the flexibility of vocal cords.
Robert Langer, Sc.D.
At the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, Robert Langer, Sc.D., discussed these and other innovations. The synthetic vocal cord gel has the ability to flutter like real vocal cords and can respond to changes in air pressure.
The researchers shortlisted the FDA approved polyethylene glycol 30 (PEG30). Polymers were created based on PEG30. A gel made of PEG30 has the ability to flutter 200 times per second, which is equivalent to a woman’s normal conversing rate. The gel is injected into the vocal cords of a patient. The formulation of the gel will vary for a singer and a normal person. Animal tests have proved safe and human trials are expected to commence in 2013.
The researchers are also working on tissues for the heart, pancreas, spinal cord and intestines. Nanowires, also called as “biorubbers”, are also used. Earlier, Langer had developed a microchip, the size of a pacemaker, which can deliver the correct amount of medication at the required time. Clinical trials have proven its effectiveness.
Langer stated that numerous advances are occurring in the chemical engineering field, such as nanotherapies, nanodiagnostics, tissue engineering, immunotherapies and new vaccines for drug delivery.