2022 AMI Online Salon

Illuminating Cancer

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  Su Min Suh
  • Client: Stanford University
  • Copyright: © SciStories LLC, 2021
  • Medium/software used: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Autodesk Maya
  • Final presentation format: Journal Cover
  • Primary Audience: Scientific Audience

Project Description

“Illuminating Cancer”: Neuronal activity drives the growth of brain cancers, but the role of activity in initial formation was not known. Children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) tumor predisposition syndrome are prone to develop glial cancers of the optic nerve, called optic pathway gliomas. Using a genetically-engineered mouse model of NF1 optic gliomas, Pan and colleagues show that optic nerve activity is a crucial regulator of tumor initiation as well as growth. Placing mice in darkness prior to tumor onset to decrease visual experience and reduce optic nerve activity prevents the tumors entirely, despite the genetic predisposition. The cover acts as a visual metaphor to capture this study and the importance of light in the formation of optic nerve gliomas and the value of darkness through the symbolism of the moon.