Catherine Alix-Panabières headshot

Catherine Alix-Panabières, PhD Dr

Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montpellier

Director of the Laboratory Rare Circulating Human Cells (LCCRH) à l'Université et CHU de Montpellier

Dr Catherine Alix-Panabières received her PhD degree in 1998 at the Institute of Virology, University Louis Pasteur, in Strasbourg in France. In 1999, she moved to Montpellier where she did postdoctoral research at the University Medical Centre. During the last 22 years, Dr Alix-Panabières has focused on optimizing new techniques of enrichment, detection and characterization of viable circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in patients with solid tumors. She is the expert for the EPISPOT technology that is used to detect viable CTCs in patients with breast, prostate, colon, head & neck cancer and melanoma. This technology is currently improved to detect functional CTCs at the single cell level (EPIDROP) and might be used as an Oncogram. Dr Catherine Alix-Panabières & Prof Pantel coined for the first time the term ‘Liquid Biopsy’in 2010 (Trends Mol Med).

In 2010, she achieved getting a permanent position at the Hospital and at the Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier (MCU-PH). As an associate professor, she became the new director of the Laboratory of Rare Human Circulating Cells (LCCRH). In this unique platform LCCRH, they isolate, detect and characterize CTCs using combinations of many technologies.

She authored >110 scientific publications, more than 12 book chapters in Oncology and is the inventor of 3 patents in the liquid biopsy field. She was/is involved in many French national and international liquid biopsy-based clinical trials – TACTIK (PHRC), PANTHER (FUI project), STIC-METABREAST, CTC-SCAN (Transcan project), CANCER-ID (IMI project), PROLIPSY (Transcan project) and European Liquid Biopsy Academy (ELBA, Marie-Curie project).

She published the first article on the expression of PD-L1 by CTCs in 2015 (Mazel et al. Mol Oncol)and demonstrated for the first time the clinical utility of CTCs in metastatic breast cancer patients (Bidardet al. JAMA Oncol 2020). She received the Gallet et Breton Cancer Prize (2012) and the 2017-AACR-Award for the most cited article in 2015 (Cayrefourcqet al.Cancer Res), reporting the establishment of the unique series of nine colon CTC lines during treatment and cancer progression. She gave her expertise on the Future of liquid biopsy (Nature2020)and is a milestones advisor (Nature milestones_Cancer 2020).

It was a great honor for her to receive the Gallet et Breton Cancer Prize, the highest honor conferred by the French Academy of Medicine in November 2012 and the 2017-AACR-Award for the most cited article in 2015 (Cayrefourcq et al.Cancer Res), reporting the establishment of the unique series of nine colon CTC lines during treatment and cancer progression. Their in-depth characterization will be a key step to understand the full story of the metastatic cascade (Cayrefourcqet al.Molecular Cancer 2021).

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