What is QTube?
QTube is an automated fingerprint-based method to quantitatively assess
the consistency of gating data across a panel of tubes. QTube
produces a numerical as well as a graphical assessment of gate data
consistency. The algorithm operates directly on list-mode FCS
data and requires no operator intervention.
How QTube came to be
QTube is a very simple
application of Cira's Cytometric Fingerprinting. We actually invented
this application in the course of using CF to predict cytogenetic
abnormality using Flow data alone for one of our clients (which, by the
way, was successful). In the course of this project we found that some
of the FCS data were not internally consistent. We wanted to exclude
these data for purposes of building a predictive fingerprint-based
classifier. Being lazy and not wanting to manually examine over 8,000
dotplots individually, we thought up this scheme to let the computer do
it for us (albeit in a database-driven high-throughput environment).
It saved us lots of time.
In a nutshell, QTube looks at the similarity of event distributions in
two or more tubes. Without you needing to direct its attention
(via gating for example), QTube computes a fingerprint for each tube,
and then compares each fingerprint against the aggregate. It
provides feedback as to how similar the distributions are, which ones
(if any) are outliers, and by how much. It does all of this with
a single click. If you like, you can easily export the result to
Excel or other analysis or reporting software.
How does it work?
QTube looks at a subset of parameters that are common across a panel of
tubes. These parameters may be those you use for describing gates
for multiple subsets that are used to gate each tube in a panel.
For example, CD45 and Side Scatter are commonly used to gate subsets in
immunophenotyping in Leukemia or Lymphoma panels. Parameters that
differ across the panel (e.g. different antibodies conjugated to FITC
in different tubes) are simply ignored.
QTube is a simple-to-use Java application that's powered by a complex underlying technology, Cytometric Fingerprinting, a new computational approach to the analysis of Flow data developed by Cira Discovery Sciences, Inc.
in response to a need to extract more information from large numbers of
multicolor FCS files in a High Throughput workflow. In order to
use QTube you needn't worry about the math behind it, though if
you're interested we refer you to the section onTheory of
How much does it cost?
QTube is free! Once you
have it you are free to use it as you like. You may keep your
version up to date, also for free, by visiting our website from time to
time. If you'd like us to add functionality that may be
broadly useful, feel free to ask (we'll do our best to honor your
request). If you need customization of QTube or a more elaborate
application of Cytometric Fingerprinting specifically for your
environment, we'll be happy to discuss that with you. We
hope you find it useful and if so, feel free to let us know about that,
What strings are attached?
Only one. If you use QTube to report QC results outside of your
organization (for example, in a report you send to a referring
physician or paying client), you must leave the QTube attribution
(that's part of the Export result and at the bottom of the main
QTube screen) intact. That's the only string, period!