Our Work


Mutations Matter Awareness Campaign for Rare Cancers

Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a rare and very aggressive form of cancer with a dismal prognosis and few treatment options. It is especially meaningful to us at Mill Pond because our own Melinda Bachini is a 9-year survivor.

Researchers have discovered that there are more than two dozen mutations associated with this cancer. Several of these mutations are seen in other cancers for which treatments exist that specifically target these mutations. More than half of CCA patients have at least one of these targetable mutations. 

If CCA patients have molecular profiling performed early in their journey, it could open the door to other treatment options and/or qualify them for participation in a clinical trial. Yet most patients are treated by community oncologists who see very few CCA cases and do not routinely refer these patients for profiling. 

The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF) had seen our ILLUMINATIONSTM and wanted to use them to increase awareness of the importance of molecular profiling among clinicians and patients. When Bayer invited CCF to apply for a competitive grant, the Foundation asked Mill Pond and our creative partners at D2 Creative to help them with their proposal. From 30 applicants, CCF made the final three, qualifying them for a Shark Tank-like pitch competition at ASCO, for which we helped them prepare.

CCF not only won the competition but was awarded more than the maximum grant. The only request from Bayer: expand the message to make it more cancer-agnostic and thus serve a broader range of patients; particularly those with rare cancers.

In concert with D2 Creative, we created cancer-agnostic ILLUMINATIONS for both clinician and patient audiences, carefully crafting the scripts to serve each audience while allowing us to repurpose much of the animation in an effort to contain costs. 

At the same time, we really wanted to specifically address the underserved cholangiocarcinoma patients. So we added a CCA-specific message to the end of the clinician piece and created a third ILLUMINATION targeted to CCA patients.


The prospect of “profiling” rogue cells lead to ILLUMINATIONS offering a USUAL SUSPECTS-inspired set of visual metaphors. These have been incredibly well received—by the Foundation, its sponsors and, most importantly, by the target audiences.

Since the characters in ILLUMINATIONS don’t speak, this helps to facilitate foreign-language translations. We are currently translating the CCA-specific patient version into five languages representing regions where cholangiocarcinoma is most prevalent.

As part of the overall initiative, we worked with CCF’s web development team, providing copy and site design for a Mutations Matter campaign site where the ILLUMINATIONS reside.

To drive traffic to the site, we are working with the Foundation on an ongoing email campaign targeting physicians and patients. We are also working with CCF on a Google Ads (formerly AdWords) campaign.

Finally, we also helped the Foundation secure permission from another client, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), to use all of the ILLUMINATIONS we created for SU2C’s Clinical Trials website on the CCF site as well. This helps to expand SU2C’s messaging reach, while adding to the content offerings on CCF’s site, creating a win-win for both organizations.

Visit the Mutations Matter site.