Bob Langer’s Latest Project: Fix Damaged Vocal Cords for Rock Stars, Cancer Patients

Xconomy Boston — 

Bob Langer has probably been called a rock star a time or two, but now the famous MIT scientist’s work is being supported by actual rock stars.

Langer, an Xconomist, is working on a project to create a vibrating gel which is thought to have potential to rejuvenate damaged vocal cords, according to a feature story from Bloomberg News. The project, which Langer is doing in collaboration with Harvard University surgeon Steven Zeitels, has gotten financial support from The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and actress Julie Andrews, according to Bloomberg.

The gel in question, which is supposed to vibrate fast enough to replicate human vocal cords, isn’t just for aging rock stars with voices damaged from years of wear and tear. The gel is also being developed as a treatment for throat cancer patients, and is scheduled to enter its first clinical trial in 2012.

There’s no mention in the story of whether this gel project is part of a company, although it does refer to Langer’s prolific record as an entrepreneur and his relationship with Polaris Venture Partners (which we described in a family tree post back in April.)

There are some good quotes from Langer in the story. At one point, he reflects on his career, saying that as he’s gotten older, his main focus has become “how to get the stuff you’re doing to affect more people.”