Sunday, July 24, 2011

Medical technology R&D

New material could offer hope to those with no voice

The team led by Langer and Zeitels has now developed a polymer gel that they hope to start testing in a small clinical trial next year. The gel, which mimics key traits of human vocal cords, could help millions of people with voice disorders—not just singers such as Andrews and Steven Tyler, another patient of Zeitels'.

About 6% of the U.S. population has some kind of voice disorder, and the majority of those cases involve scarring of the vocal cords, says Sandeep Karajanagi, a former MIT researcher who developed the gel while working as a postdoc in the Langer lab. Many of those are children whose cords are scarred from intubation during surgery, while others are victims of laryngeal cancer.

Other people who could benefit are those with voices strained from overuse, such as teachers. “This would be so valuable to society, because every time a person loses their voice, say, a teacher or a politician, all of their contributions get lost to society, because they can’t communicate their ideas,” Zeitels says.

Don't give up hope. Medical technology has come a long way and the best is yet to come. I've moved on from developing cardiac devices and am now on the forefront of implantables and devices for microsurgery and implantable biologics.


  1. i suffer from laryngeal paralysis, and a vocal cord to match.

    having another implant put in, as well as a restructuring of the larygeal cartilidge.

    this has been going on for nearly three years and hoping this is the last of it.
    having a barely audible voice really sucks when you are naturally as talkative as i.

  2. I’ve been teaching almost 15 years and I’ve come up against grumpy old men and women too. Even recently but now online too. I usually ignore them and go on with what I consider to be important for learning. It doesn’t matter if it’s been tried before, it’s trying again and making it even better that leads to progress. Take an idea and improve it.