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The Qt Company Partners with Quantitative Imaging Systems and KDAB to Advance Cancer Research

Published - December 21, 2017

Organizations’ Collaborative Cancer Research Efforts Headlined by “The Coloring Book of Life” Crowdsourcing Project

The Qt Company today announced a partnership with Quantitative Imaging Systems (Qi), a biotechnology company focused on revolutionizing cancer research and treatment, and The KDAB Group (KDAB), the leading global software consultancy for Qt, C++ and OpenGL, to advance cancer research. Through the partnership, Qi, together with Qt and KDAB, has built imaging software to help researchers gain a deeper understanding of the progression of cancer on a cellular level, using Qt’s cross-platform development framework. The partnership has also led to the launch of the nanoQuill project, a crowdsourced coloring book and mobile app for annotating cancer research data.

The search for an end to cancer as we know it is an extremely complex task due to the fact that cancer is a highly dynamic disease, and as such there are myriad aspects to the problem that need to be solved. As a result, understanding and beating cancer demands a collaborative approach from researchers, technology providers and countless other members of the worldwide medical and academic ecosystem.

To address the monumental challenge of solving cancer, Qi and KDAB developed QiTissue, an imaging tissue software architecture that combines the power of cell-based analytics with machine learning and visualization capabilities. This combination delivers unprecedented insights into spatial concepts such as tumor nests, islands of resistance, interactions with stroma during metastatic progression, and the effect of each type of immune cell. Qt provides the technology behind the highly intuitive user interface for QiTissue.

“Technology has enabled us to make tremendous strides in better understanding cancer from a cellular level, but because it’s such a complex disease, our research has created gigantic data sets that are beyond human comprehension,” said Michel Nederlof, CTO, Quantitative Imaging Systems. “Through the highly intuitive and simple user interface enabled by Qt, our QiTissue architecture is able to produce extremely detailed visualizations that help our researchers make sense of the data they need to analyze. Using Qt’s framework, we have been able to save an enormous amount of time that we can then spend on reaching the ultimate goal – beating cancer – rather than solving software problems.”

Qt, Qi and KDAB have now taken their collaboration one step further by introducing nanoQuill, otherwise known as “The Coloring Book of Life,” which is a crowdsourced coloring book that gives anybody the opportunity to color cancer images to help annotate organelles inside those electron microscopy images. Qi is then able to take the crowdsourced annotations to measure a cell’s detail, render 3D images from the colored 2D images, and ultimately train new deep learning algorithms, all in the name of advancing cancer research.

“Just about everybody gets affected by cancer sooner or later, as a patient, a colleague, a relative, a caregiver, a neighbor, or a friend. Certainly, this applies to KDAB employees, too, which is why we are very proud to be able to contribute to the nanoQuill project,” said Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, president and CEO, KDAB. “nanoQuill is a great opportunity for us to apply our world-class engineering skills in the area of Qt, 3D, OpenGL, C++, and platform-independent software development to an excellent cause.”

The idea for this coloring book project dates back to 2015, when a research group with the Oregon Health & Science University Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine (OCSSB), led by Joe Gray, Ph.D., developed an outreach program to provide the general public with a way to assist in cancer research by coloring in features of complex cell images. The researchers hoped to enable crowdsourced assistance to identify patterns in cells that take much longer for computer systems to identify.

Dr. Gray’s research team, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Systems Biology Consortium Center, generates and analyzes this image data, and in collaboration with Qi, is now introducing crowdsourced coloring in the form of “The Coloring Book of Life” and its accompanying web application. The cancer cell images that are hand-colored and returned will be collected and analyzed by cancer researchers and computational scientists at OHSU, with support from the NIH/NCI Cancer Systems Biology Consortium and the Prospect Creek Foundation. These scientists are developing the microscopy methods and generating the image data for “The Coloring Book of Life” and its web application.

“nanoQuill leverages a person’s ability to visually identify patterns that exist in images of cancer cells,” said Dr. Gray, director of OCSSB and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute associate director for biophysical oncology. “We hope that people will participate in this coloring exercise to help us visualize important features that may guide us to the development of better treatments. We also hope to use the colored images to train computers how to do the coloring.”

“The research that Qi is conducting truly is ground-breaking, but the scope of it is too massive for just one organization to manage,” said Juha Varelius, CEO, Qt Group. “With our user interface capabilities and KDAB’s unmatched technology expertise, Qi is able to advance its research without being impeded by technological restraints. Furthermore, with the nanoQuill coloring book project, Qi is able to leverage an entire global community to exponentially accelerate the world-changing contributions it’s making towards solving cancer.”

nanoQuill/“The Coloring Book of Life” can be accessed here, and contributors to the book can socialize their efforts on Twitter using the #color4cancer hashtag.

About The Qt Company

The Qt Company develops and delivers the Qt development framework under commercial and open source licenses. We enable a single software code across all operating systems, platforms and screen types, from desktops and embedded systems to wearables and mobile devices. Qt is used by approximately one million developers worldwide and is the leading independent technology behind millions of devices and applications. Qt is the platform of choice for in-vehicle systems, medical devices, industrial automation devices, and other business critical application manufacturers, and is used by leading global players in more than 70 industries. The Qt Company is owned by the Qt Group, which operates in China, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Norway, Russia and USA with more than 200 employees worldwide. The Qt Group is headquartered in Espoo, Finland and is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Stock Exchange. The company’s net sales in year 2016 totaled 32,4 MEUR. To learn more visit http://qt.io

About Quantitative Imaging Systems
Quantitative Imaging Systems (Qi) is a biotechnology business founded in 2011 by Michel Nederlof, a physicist with over 30 years of experience in developing imaging systems, and a passion for unraveling cancer through digital imaging microscopy.

With decades of experience in microscope imaging technology, Qi software is designed with pitch-perfect domain knowledge of microscopy applications that provide solutions for biomedical research, drug development, and ultimately design of patient treatment plans. By combining next generation image analytics and visualization technologies, with recent advances in reagents and optics, Qi is breaking barriers in resolution, color, and dimensionality.

Tissue architectural information can now be augmented with highly multiplexed single cell analysis, providing a wealth of information that was previously not available. QiTissue combines the power of cell based analytics, machine learning, and visualization. This enables unprecedented insights into spatial concepts, such as tumor nests, islands of resistance, interactions with stroma during metastatic progression, and the effect of each type of immune cell.

About The KDAB Group (KDAB)
KDAB is the number one global software consultancy for Qt, C++ and OpenGL applications across desktop, embedded and mobile platforms. KDAB build runtimes and develop infrastructure for applications and user interfaces running in cars, medical devices, mobile phones, tablets, industrial machines, oil wells, desktops and much more.

In order to help our customers be successful, KDAB partners with a variety of companies who share the same values and are equally committed to excellence. To learn more, visit http://www.kdab.com.

About the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of precision cancer medicine. The institute’s director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down just the cells that enable cancer to grow. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and transformed how cancer is treated. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle – an honor earned only by the nation’s top cancer centers. It is headquarters for one of the National Cancer Institute’s largest research collaboratives, SWOG, in addition to offering the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials. For additional information on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute visit http://www.ohsu.edu/health/cancer/index.htmlor follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine
The OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine (OCSSB) is dedicated to elucidating the structural and mechanical properties of cells and tissues, understanding how these structures are encoded and regulated by genomic features and how genomic aberrations corrupt aspects of structure that lead to disease formation. The program is centered at OHSU but includes activities at Portland State University, and Oregon State University, local technology centers in nanotechnology and drug discovery. For additional information on the program visit the OCSSB website.

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