In a breakthrough study, scientists have grown and recreated functional vocal cords in a lab. Scientists were able to reconstruct almost 170 vocal cords by using vocal tissue from four patients who had their larynxes removed and used cells from vocal folds to create the new vocal cords. The cells were able to grow the vocal cords in the lab by themselves over the course of just 14 days. When scientists tested the vocal cords, they found that blowing air through them made the same humming noise that isolated vocal cords in humans make.
While the study is still in the early stages, the scientists hope that it will help the over 20 million people across the United States who suffer vocal cord damage or have lost their voice all together. These individuals include Julie Andrews, who lost her singing voice fully in 1997, Adele, and John Mayer. They believe that through this discovery, they will eventually be able to grow damaged parts of vocal cords and implant them surgically. Tests also indicated that the immune system was surprisingly tolerant to the recreated vocal cords, something that have not seen in many other tests involving recreated organs.
Scientists hope to continue experiments on other animals to confirm that the vocal cords would be safe for use in humans. But I think we can all agree that any medical experiment that may be able to help Julie Andrews sing again is a winner in our eyes.