A Patient's Story

By Linda Topping Streitfeld

The best journalism is based on fact, seeded with anecdote and laced with telling detail. The story of Holly Boehle’s breast cancer, her participation in a study at Mayo Clinic and the mouse avatars that grew her tumor has all those elements.

Boehle and her Mayo surgeon, Dr. Judy Boughey, met with NPF Precision Medicine fellows to outline her diagnosis at age 42 with an invasive ductal carcinoma. “Your world changes in just a moment as you get that news that you have breast cancer,” Boehle said.

She traveled to Rochester to become one of 140 women who took part in the study called BEAUTY -- the Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy Study. The first phase proved the concept that tumors grown in mice from needle biopsy samples can show drug responses similar to tumor tissue in the body. It’s also possible, Boughey said, that they have found a genetic marker for responsiveness to a class of chemotherapy drugs called Taxanes – big news if it pans out. Audio from the presentation and discussion is here.