In the future, treatments tailored to patients

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Holly Boehle came to the Mayo Clinic in 2013 with an aggressive breast cancer, prepared for almost anything. Still, she was surprised when doctors wanted to remove cells from her tumor and transplant them into “avatar mice.”

Researchers then injected different cancer drugs into the mice to test which shrank the tumors, findings that will help future patients with the same cancer type. Boehle, a 44-year-old school administrator in Zeeland, Mich., underwent surgery and received a combination of drug infusions. Her cancer has been in remission for the past year.

“I call them little Holly mice,” she said in a tone of gratitude to the research animals, which were dubbed avatars because they carried her tumors into the lab.

Robert Weisman, Bostonglobe.com

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