Through the work of the School of Biosciences team, in collaboration with East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, Kent has developed a new method of care for patients who have to have their larynx removed.
The Biosciences team found that the replacement voice boxes would last much longer if they dealt with the fungal infection Candida albicans that was causing the silicone versions to fail. For the first time, scientists were able to extend the life of the replacement voicebox by dealing with the fungal infection.
The team has developed clinical care for patients that has now been taken up by many NHS Trusts in the UK and which is anticipated could be used worldwide for throat cancer patients.
It means patients may be able to carry on using silicone voice prosthesis for much longer, enabling them to still speak and reducing the risk of dangerous secondary chest infections.
Dr Campbell Gourlay, Senior Lecturer in Cell Biology at Kent, said the University's work, funded by the NHS and Kent Cancer Trust, will enable people who lose their larynx to maintain speech and enjoy a better quality of life.
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Note to editors
Established in 1965, the University of Kent - the UK's European university - now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.
It has been ranked: 23rd in the Guardian University Guide 2017; 23rd in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017; and 23rd in the Complete University Guide 2017.
In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16, Kent is in the top 10% of the world's leading universities for international outlook and 66th in its table of the most international universities in the world. The THE also ranked the University as 20th in its 'Table of Tables' 2016.
Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.
In the National Student Survey 2016, Kent achieved the fourth highest score for overall student satisfaction, out of all publicly funded, multi-faculty universities.
Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium (http://www.
The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.
In 2014, Kent received its second Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.