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

For inquiries about the WOO Network or its trials, or to discuss a potential WOO trial concept, please contact:


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
Interim 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
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