SLU Doisy College of Health Sciences Dean Receives $2.63 Million NIH R01 Grant to Improve Treatments for Voice Disorders
ST. LOUIS – The lifetime prevalence of voice disorders in the adult population in the United States is approximately 30%, suggesting that 20-23 million adults may experience a voice disorder annually. Some have estimated the annual direct costs of treatment and lost wages at around $13 billion dollars which is comparable to the costs associated with the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, diabetes, and allergic rhinitis.
Bernard Rousseau, Ph.D., MMHC, CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow, Dean of Saint Louis University Edward and Margaret Doisy College of Health Sciences was recently awarded $2.63 million dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve treatments for voice disorders.
Over the last two decades, Dr. Rousseau’s federally funded research program has focused on systematic studies to determine the cellular and molecular pathophysiology underlying vocal fold tissue changes. This new five-year NIH R01 project will quantify the effects of pharmacologic treatments on the regulation of vocal fold permeability.
Dr. Rousseau’s laboratory has discovered novel mechanisms involved in the regulation of the vocal fold epithelium from a class of steroid hormones found in most cells of the human body. Beyond the anti-inflammatory actions of these steroids, evidence emerging from his laboratory suggests a role for glucocorticoids in the regulation of the vocal fold paracellular pathway.
The research team will be investigating a hypothesis that vocal fold permeability can be selectively regulated using treatments that target the paracellular pathway. If successful, this novel approach will provide exciting new possibilities in the management of vocal fold disease.
Dean Rousseau explained the importance of this next phase of the research.
“Over the next five years, we will determine the effects of pharmacologic treatments on the regulation of vocal fold permeability. Selective permeability of the vocal fold epithelium can provide access to the subepithelial space and a means for transepithelial delivery of common fillers and biomaterials to the vocal folds. These pre-clinical studies will provide indications for use, safety, and demonstration of therapeutic efficacy prior to clinical trials,” Dean Rousseau said.
About The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducts and supports research in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language.
About SLU’s Edward and Margaret Doisy College of Health Sciences:
The Doisy College of Health Sciences has provided students with the tools and education to become well-prepared healthcare professionals since 1929. The Doisy College of Health Sciences offers healthcare education at the baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral and professional levels in a variety of health-related fields.
About Saint Louis University:
Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.