Dame Julie Andrews is hoping an innovative new throat treatment will helpher sing again - after a botched operation robbed the star of her famousvocal range.

The Sound of Music actress, whose voice once spanned four octaves, underwent surgery in 1997 to remove non-cancerous nodules from her throat.

She came into our office and explained that she cannot hold a note because of scarring

It left her unable to sing and she filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against doctors at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital.

The case was settled out of court in 2000.

The 74 year old's voice coach, Dr Steven Zeitels, has been collaborating with chemical engineer Professor Robert Langer, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a bid to find a cure.

And now Langer has made a breakthrough which could help give Andrews her voice back, by injecting man-made gel into her vocal cords to restore their elasticity.

Professor Langer reveals the treatment could be made available within two years "So far the animal trials have been promising. It appears safe in animals. We hope we can start a clinical trial on this gel in a year or two. I don't want to promise we'll do it on Julie Andrews but she has been a big proponent of it. She has been a great supporter. She came into our office and explained that she cannot hold a note because of scarring".