A group of patients, including famous singers such as Steven Tyler, Julie Andrews and Roger Daltrey, have even gone so far as to create a non-profit fundraising organization called The Voice Health Institute, founded in Boston in 2003, which supports the development of the artificial cords.
Steven Zeitels, one of the most renowned vocal surgeons in the world and one of the leading researchers on the project told HuffPost that the cords are made of a “highly elastic gel,” which flutters just like healthy vocal cords do. He said earlier tests have been successful and that his team could begin trials on cancer patients as early as next year.
“Soon, this could just be an office procedure,” Zeitels predicted. “An injection. You’d be done in 15 minutes.”
It may still be a few years before artificial cords can help singers. Repairing a hoarse voice damaged by years of overuse is much easier than repairing the voice of a belting singer with a multi-octave range, Zeitels said. But as the technology of the cords improves, they will be able to stretch further and work harder.
“Once you prove a human being can be restored, then this will become such a valuable tool to society,” said Zeitels. “This will take lost voices and everything they would have done with their voice, and let them recontribute again.”
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