Window-of-Opportunity Network
Window-of-Opportunity Network
Inquiries

For inquiries about the WOO Network or its trials, or to discuss a potential WOO trial concept, please contact: WOONetwork@oicr.on.ca

Introduction

The Window-of-Opportunity (WOO) Network is a collaboration between surgical, medical and radiation oncologists and Ontario’s cancer research community to conduct clinical trials in treatment-naive patients prior to cancer surgery.

WOO trials are a powerful way to evaluate the effectiveness and mechanisms of action of potential anticancer therapies. By learning from each WOO trial and comparing the results across WOO trials, our Network accelerates translational cancer research and brings new treatments to patients sooner.

The WOO Network was formed in 2020 under the guidance of a multidisciplinary steering committee. Prioritized WOO studies are provided with funding and support for trial development, translational analysis and knowledge dissemination and leverage OICR’s powerful and standardized multi-omic capabilities. The WOO Network builds study capacity in Ontario through mentorship of new investigators, industry partnerships, data analytics and shared network expertise. The current focus of the WOO Network is to identify agents that rapidly modulate and enhance the immune response in cancer patients.

Illustration of WOO structure

The results of WOO trials can help researchers to:

  • Profile the tumour microenvironment and related systemic changes following drug exposure
  • Rapidly identify the mechanism of action and on-target activity for a novel therapy
  • Further precision medicine by identifying biomarkers to predict which patients will benefit from a therapeutic approach

Importance of WOO trials in cancer research:

  • Inform the development of potential therapeutic approaches for neoadjuvant treatment of primary cancers
  • Screen out agents with little or no activity and prioritize more promising agents for oncology drug development
  • Rapidly verify drug mechanism of action, identify biomarkers for patient selection and interrogate potential resistance mechanisms
  • Inform “go/no-go” decisions for new immunotherapies and their combinations

About the WOO Network [PDF]

WOO Network Leadership
Dr. Angel Arnaout, MD MSc FRCSC FACS
Dr. Angel Arnaout, MD MSc FRCSC FACS
Surgical Oncologist and Professor of Surgery,
The University of Ottawa
Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Dr. Melanie Spears, PhD
Dr. Melanie Spears, PhD
Co-Director, Diagnostic Development,
Principal Research Scientist, OICR
For oncology researchers

The WOO Network provides:

  • Consultation with patient partners and experienced WOO trialists throughout the study process
  • Opportunities to test a therapeutic across multiple tumour types or test different therapies on a specific molecular subtype of cancer
  • Guidance to promote efficient implementation, data collection, translational analysis and knowledge dissemination
  • Collaboration with experts in translational science and access to leading-edge technologies, resulting in deep molecular analysis
  • Funding awards for selected WOO Network trials
Currently funded WOO trials
  • 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.
Criteria for funded WOO trials
  • Multi-site, presurgical study in treatment-naive or early-stage recurrence patients
  • Demonstrated drug safety profile
  • Patient engagement is embedded in the proposal either through patient engagement at the Principal Investigator’s (PI) healthcare centre or in collaboration with OICR’s Patient and Family Advisory Council
  • Highly engaged Principal Investigator, inclusion of a surgeon as lead or co-PI is strongly recommended
  • Completion of patient accrual within two years
  • Inclusion of trial data in WOO Network’s data platforms
  • Alignment with current WOO Network research focus: Immunomodulation with emphasis on the identification of novel biomarkers of immune response
Funding opportunities

WOO Network Call for Concepts

The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) Window-of-Opportunity (WOO) Network is inviting concept submissions for WOO trials, which exploit the ‘window’ of time after cancer diagnosis, typically prior to initiation of cancer therapy (usually surgery with curative intent). In presurgical WOO trials, patients with treatment naïve or early-stage disease are treated for a brief ‘window’ period with a novel therapy followed by surgical resection.

Funding support is provided to prioritized trial concepts that meet funding criteria. Investigators will present their concepts during the WOO Network Meeting on Thursday, February 9, 2023. Once prioritized, further trial development is engaged, facilitated and iterative.

Making headlines
In the News
OICR announces funding for three new window-of-opportunity clinical trials
OICR announces funding for three new window-of-opportunity clinical trials
Jun 16, 2022
OICR, Intensity Therapeutics and The Ottawa Hospital to conduct Window of Opportunity clinical trial in early-stage breast cancer
OICR, Intensity Therapeutics and The Ottawa Hospital to conduct Window of Opportunity clinical trial in early-stage breast cancer
Mar 24, 2021
Harnessing the time before a patient’s surgery to accelerate cancer research
Harnessing the time before a patient’s surgery to accelerate cancer research
Sep 20, 2019
Using the “window of opportunity” to understand biomarkers and tumour biology
Using the “window of opportunity” to understand biomarkers and tumour biology
Sep 11, 2019
Patient perspectives fuelling translational OICR studies
Patient perspectives fuelling translational OICR studies
Oct 05, 2022