Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Improving the quality of life for larynx cancer patients


Currently, voice rehabilitation of larynx cancer patients is performed by inserting a one-way shunt valve between trachea and oesophagus that prevents food and liquid from entering the trachea. Pressing the tracheal opening with a finger forces exhaled air through the shunt valve to the oesophagus, where soft tissue structures serve as a substitute voice. However, the voice is in many cases of poor quality and the process creates a mental barrier during speaking, as patients have to literally point at their handicap.

The NEWVOICE project aims to improve the quality of life for laryngectomees by developing a new voice-producing shunt prosthesis that is able to produce a voice with sufficient loudness, adjustable fundamental frequency and natural intonation.

Dr. Bart Verkerke, Project Manager of the Department of BioMedical Engineering at the main partner, the University of Groningen, describes how the partners initiated this work in a previous EUREKA project. “Most of the NEWVOICE participants were involved in project E! 723 ARTIFICIAL LARYNX, during which we gained a lot of the expertise in medical devices to improve the rehabilitation process that will be used in this project.”

Tackling problems
The new voice-producing element that was inspired by the lips of a trumpet player is working well technically, but poses a prototyping problem as it is too big to fit into an existing shunt valve. Work is progressing to try to develop a small voice-producing element that still has the proper frequency characteristics. At the same time, the project also aims to develop a new fixation technique, the so-called tissue connector, which allows for a larger shunt valve.

Six different concepts for the tissue connector that fastens the shunt valve in place are being tested as “it was impossible to determine which of the alternatives was the most appropriate. We will perform a pilot animal study to test them and choose the most effective,” says Verkerke.

A critical problem facing the project team is that food and fluid passing the shunt valve stimulates the formation of a biofilm. “This causes the shunt valve to malfunction, making it necessary to replace the shunt valve frequently, on average every four months,” explains Dr Mark Waters, Senior Lecturer in Biomaterials at Cardiff Dental School. “The task of the UK partners is to develop silicone rubber materials which are less susceptible to biofilm formation.”

The project has already developed coatings that slow down or prevent biofilm adhesion that could extend the life of a shunt valve for some patients considerably.

According to Verkerke, “the major challenges lying ahead include finding a material that can resist all yeasts and bacteria, proving that the concept of the tissue connector works, and finding a voice-producing element small enough to fit into a shunt valve.”

Nicola Vatthauer | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>