Heralding a Novel Approach in Heart Failure

Medical Animation

Shifting Perspectives

Drug targeting of the molecular contractile mechanism—the sarcomere—is a novel approach to treating heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). This idea is gaining traction, as impaired contractility is seen as a central defect in HFrEF. However, while the science underlying this approach is well established, it isn’t widely known and is challenging to visualize clearly.

Created for

Content development
Molecular visualization
3D modelling

Innovative Visualization Leads to Understanding

Much is known about the events of an individual actin-myosin interaction: the cross-bridge cycle. Through a literature deep dive, we determined that heart failure can be characterized as a decrease in the number of strongly-bound myosin heads. This inspired a strong, didactic visual symbol to portray impaired contractility: myosin heads glow when strongly bound, with fewer glowing heads signaling impaired contractility. To depict this clearly and accurately, we built a detailed sarcomere model, using molecular structure data, at an unprecedented scale and level of realism. The result is truly striking.

Popular & Award Winning

The medical animation has been used globally by three partnered pharmaceutical companies to increase awareness among clinicians. The medical communications sponsor deployed it to heart congresses (virtual and in-person), presentations, face-to-face meetings and as an online educational resource, calling the video “one of the most popular assets for our disease state education campaign.” It went on to win the Award of Excellence in Instructional Animation at the 2020 Association of Medical Illustrators annual meeting.

Looking Forward

We designed the disease awareness story and visual assets to be easily adapted to a future MOA animation—which has since been completed. The dynamic sarcomere model we created will continue to help illustrate and explain new contractility data as studies continue.