MARY Poppins star Dame Julie Andrews has been dropping in on scientists developing artificial vocal cords that might one day restore her voice.
The US team hopes to test the elastic synthetic tissue on patients suffering from voice loss as early as next year.
Dame Julie, 76, who permanently lost her full vocal range after an operation in 1997, chairs a non-profit organisation funding the research and is being treated by a doctor collaborating on the project.
She could potentially be one of the first patients to benefit from the injected biogel, which is designed to vibrate in the voice box like a real vocal cord.
The vocal cord gel developed by Professor Robert Langer’s team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston is based on a material already used in approved cosmetic creams, medical devices and drugs.