New therapies may offer better quality of life for laryngectomy patients

This post is prompted by an article, from the Mayo Press, which can be seen here    LINK

Alternatives to a total laryngectomy have been sought for many years. The motive has been to improve future quality of life for patients around speech and swallowing. Chemoradiotherapy preserves the voice but there are other functional issues, not to mention chances of avoiding a recurrence.

NALC has been supporting research and development of alternative strategies. Professor Martin Birchall, of University College London, has been a NALC patron for some years and he took part in the successful larynx transplant surgery on a patient  in the USA in 1998. Since then he worked for some years looking at the use of stem cells for organ regeneration and transplant.

My personal view is that much work remains before there may be a widely available alternative to a traditional  laryngectomy. The current options, as described  in the article, are unproven, expensive and require very specialized facilities.  One option not mentioned in the article is the development of an implantable soft robotic larynx, which is a current focus of Professor Birchall.