Rare circulating cells

Dr Françoise Farace

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Rare circulating cells


The platform is dedicated to the analysis of rare blood cell components such as circulating tumor cells (CTC) and circulating endothelial cells / progenitors (CEC / CEP), used as biomarkers in clinical trials.

Skills and expertise

The platform has developed innovative technologies for the detection of biomarkers by microscopy, FACS (fluorescence activated cell sorting), and the molecular analysis by FISH and single-cell sequencing (targeted sequencing, exome sequencing). These technologies are used to study the bioactivity of anticancer drugs, predict sensitivity or resistance to therapy. The platform is also developing specific projects such as the functional characterization of CTCs through the development of tumor xenograft models. The platform is partner of European consortia that aim to validate and standardize liquid biopsy analysis technologies (CTC, ctDNA).

Services provided

  • Enrichment and detection of CTCs and rare circulating cells (technologies: CellSearch, Siemens, ISET, VyCAP, Microtech, Screencell)
  • Phenotypical characterization of CTCs and rare circulating cells by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescent staining
  • Isolation of single CTCs and other rare circulating cells (FACS, Puncher, DEPArray, laser microdissection)
  • Genome amplification of CTCs and other rare circulating cells
  • FISH on CTCs and tumors
  • Semi-automated microscopy method for immunofluorescent staining analysis of CTCs and tumors
  • Semi-automated microscopy method for FISH analysis of CTCs and tumors
  • Sequencing of single CTCs, circulating tumor DNA and tumors
  • Analysis of mutations in single cells by targeted PCR and next generation sequencing (NGS) using commercial cancer panels (50 genes) and/or home-made panels
  • Low-pass whole genome analysis on single cells for copy number alterations (CNA) profiling
  • Molecular portraits of CTCs and tumors within the framework of personalized pedicine
  • WES, RNAseq
  • Bioinformatics pipeline for WES, targeted PCR/NGS and low-pass whole genome single cell data and quality controls (ADO, PPV, FPR)
  • Development of CTC-derived murine models
  • Cell culture in the model of chorioallantoïc membrane (CAM) of chicken embryo
  • Metastatic activity assay in the CAM model
  • Test of anticancer drug efficacy in the CAM model

réarrangement de gène ALK dans des CTC de cancer du poumon

ALK-rearrangement detection in non-small cell lung cancer CTCs (Pailler et al, J Clin Oncol 2013, Pailler et al, Cancer Res 2017)



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