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OICR announces funding for three new window-of-opportunity clinical trials
Trials are part of OICR’s Window-of-Opportunity Network

Trials are part of OICR’s Window-of-Opportunity Network

June 16, 2022  — Toronto — The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) is announcing funding for three new Ontario-based clinical trials as part of its Window-of-Opportunity (WOO) Network.

A collaboration between OICR and Ontario’s research community, the WOO Network supports clinical trials that focus on understanding tumour biology in newly diagnosed or newly recurrent cancer patients. These trials will help scientists understand the impact of cancer therapeutics before surgery, with the goal of helping to improve treatment options for future generations of cancer patients.

The WOO Network is proud to support: 

  • Dr. Michael Ong at the The Ottawa Hospital is examining the effectiveness of pre-operative radiotherapy combined with immunotherapy in patients with bladder cancer, with a specific focus on the role of radiotherapy in ‘priming’ a patient’s immune system to enhance cancer immunotherapy. 
  • Dr. Malcolm Moore and a team from Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, The Ottawa Hospital and Juravinski Cancer Centre are exploring the effect of combining two immunotherapy drugs (durvalumab and oleclumab) given prior to surgery, on the tumour stroma and immune function of patients with resectable pancreatic cancer.
  • Dr. Dan Breadner of the Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer and Lawson Health Research Institute (London Health Sciences Centre) and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (Western University) is examining if stereotactic ablative radiation (SABR) therapy can reduce the size of pancreatic tumours and make surgeries more effective, while also monitoring for immune changes in and around the tumour that may increase the chance that a patient’s tumour responds to chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

The ‘window-of-opportunity’ is the two-to-six week period between when a person receives a cancer diagnosis and their scheduled surgery. Being able to study cancers before surgery may provide insights into new ways to identify cancer, to measure how cancer cells respond to treatment and to understand how a new therapy works. In particular, window-of-opportunity trials may provide insight into new possible neo-adjuvant therapies aimed at eradicating diagnosed cancer before surgery.

Support for window-of-opportunity trials is part of OICR’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2026, which has a focus on advancing early detection and intervention research, reinforcing Ontario’s global leadership in data sharing and analytics, expanding on Ontario’s robust pipeline of novel cancer therapies and then helping navigate those therapies into commercialization and clinical use.

For more information or to book an interview, contact:

Daniel Punch
Senior Communications Officer, OICR


“These innovative trials will provide a unique window into our understanding of cancer biology in response to treatment. We’re excited to collaborate with three outstanding research teams.”
– Dr. Melanie Spears, WOO Network Co-lead, Principal Research Scientist at OICR

“The opportunity to initiate potential cancer therapies before surgery will give us a greater understanding of which treatments work best for which patients, and ultimately help bring the most effective therapies to the people who need them.
– Dr. Angel Arnaout, WOO Network Co-lead, Surgical Oncologist and Professor of Surgery at the University of Ottawa

“The authentic involvement of patient partners is one of the WOO Network’s many strengths, and I know these exciting trials will benefit from the perspectives that we as patient partners are able to offer.”
– Carol Gordon, Patient Partner, Member of OICR’s Patient and Family Advisory Council

“Collaborating with OICR has allowed us to move forward with a study we hope can help bring about the best outcomes for people with bladder cancer with the least amount of side effects.
– Dr. Michael Ong, The Ottawa Hospital

“The WOO Network has helped set our trial up for success as we explore the genetics of pancreatic tumours and how they respond to a combination of immunotherapy medications.
-Dr. Malcolm Moore, The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Drug Development Program

“Our team is excited to better understand the impact of stereotactic ablative radiation (SABR) on pancreatic cancer, and we are grateful to OICR for all its support through the WOO Network.
– Dr. Dan Breadner, Baker Centre for Pancreatic Cancer

“WOO trials are fantastic collaborations between OICR, cancer researchers from various disciplines and people with cancer from across Ontario that will fuel innovations that improve health outcomes in Ontario and around the world.
– Dr. Laszlo Radvanyi, President and Scientific Director, OICR

About OICR

OICR is a collaborative, not-for-profit research institute funded by the Government of Ontario. We conduct and enable high-impact translational cancer research to accelerate the development of discoveries for patients around the world while maximizing the economic benefit of this research for the people of Ontario. For more information visit

The views expressed are those of OICR and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Province of Ontario.