Illuminating Medulloblastoma


Abstract Medulloblastoma, a childhood brain cancer of the cerebellum, has one of the highest mortality rates of pediatric cancers. For over a century, scientists believed that medulloblastoma metastasized exclusively through cerebrospinal fluid; however, novel research reveals that it can also spread through the circulatory system. Understanding this new mechanism is critical for the development of therapies and to help affected families understand their child's disease.


An educational 3D animation was developed to effectively disseminate this research to the scientific community and to educate physicians, researchers, and affected families about this disease. A story-driven narrative and emphasis on visual metaphor put the research in context by establishing why this research matters, what the future implications are, and how it is relevant to the audience. Additionally, various visual design strategies were implemented in order to increase memory retention and audience engagement. The final animation is the first visual resource that educates a lay audience on the two different mechanisms of medulloblastoma metastasis.

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This Vesalius Trust research poster was presented at the 2019 Association of Medical Illustrators' Annual Meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This reserach poster was awarded an Honorable Mention.




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2. Morrissy, A.S., Garzia, L., Shih, D.J.H., Zuyderduyn, S., Huang, X., Skowron, P., ...Taylor, M.D. (2016). Divergent clonal selection dominates medulloblastoma at recurrence. Nature, 529 (7586), 351-357.


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