Announcement of the winners of the Innove-Onco Competition $1.7M to optimize the integration of innovations in oncology
Announcement of the winners of the Innove-Onco Competition $1.7M to optimize the integration of innovations in oncology

07 July 2020

Oncopole, the product of a unique co-creation process led by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) and made possible by an initial $15M investment from Merck Canada, brought together key players in the innovation, research and health and social services sectors in order to develop the Innove-Onco Program. As a result, Oncopole has partnered with the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), the Bureau de l’innovation and the Programme québécois de cancérologie du ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux in collaboration with l’Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS) to set up this competition.
Oncopole is proud to announce today the Innove-Onco winners. Two promising projects bringing together the improvement of clinical practices, the integration of innovation and oncology research, will thus benefit from a substantial amount over 2 years. Thanks to an additional contribution of $200,000 from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the total budget for the competition reached $1,700,000.

The Innove-Onco Competition

The Innove-Onco funding program, launched in the fall of 2019, is aimed at optimizing the adoption – within the public health and social services system – of innovations in oncology.

Both funded projects use innovations of a technological and organizational nature, implemented within various healthcare facilities in Quebec that meet a clearly demonstrated need in oncology. This research will notably be used to improve the organization of care and patient management. The projects will also provide an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the factors that facilitate or limit the introduction of innovations, to measure their performance in a real care context and to judge the relevance of their implementation on a broader scale.

Two projects with great potential

Following a thorough evaluation of the applications, two projects were selected. The winning teams will receive major funding support over 2 years.


The integration of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in cancer care: learning from real-world implementation in cancer centres across Quebec

[Sylvie Lambert, Ph.D., McGill University, St. Mary’s Research Centre and Peter Nugus, Ph.D., McGill University]

Cancer patients can suffer from serious side effects as a result of their treatment that are not always identified and treated by clinicians. Completing a questionnaire about their symptoms whenever they consult their healthcare professional can improve the process of care, their quality of life and even their survival. Regular screening of symptoms, particularly distress, remains seldom used in Quebec cancer centres.

Bearing that in mind, the team has developed an innovative symptom screening program, called e-IMPAQc, that uses the mobile application Opal. Beginning in the fall of 2020, this technology will be used in five adult cancer centres in Quebec: St. Mary’s Hospital Centre (SMHC), McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé (Cité), and Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR). The study proposed is to identify the factors favoring and limiting the integration of this innovation into the healthcare system. The data will make it possible to create a guide to help deploy the application in other facilities across Quebec. The ultimate goal is to reduce the needless suffering of patients who can be better treated if their symptoms are identified.


Technological and organizational innovations go hand in hand: A collaborative model to render oncogenetics more flexible, accessible and efficient.

[Hermann Nabi, Ph.D. and Michel Dorval, Ph.D., CHU de Québec Research Centre-Université Laval]

Thanks to a greater understanding of the biology of cancers and the advent of new molecular biology technologies, it is now possible to identify the susceptibility genes of certain cancers, making it possible to clarify a diagnosis or a prognosis and to optimize cancer treatments. In Quebec, as in other jurisdictions, genetic testing is usually accessible to women identified as being high-risk. However, access to those tests remains a major challenge for patients and their families, healthcare professionals and the healthcare system. In a context of limited resources, medical genetic services in Quebec cannot meet the growing demand for oncogenetic consultations for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome. The impact on patients, facing long waiting lists to get an appointment, can be serious. In fact, cancers could be prevented in the case of certain patients and others could benefit from innovative targeted therapies.

To overcome this problem, the CHU de Québec-Université Laval has developed a “collaborative oncogenetic model” (COM) based on inter-professional and inter-institutional collaboration, and diverse and personalized genetic services. According to the results, this model improves access to genetic counselling services and significantly reduces delays for access to genetic tests for patients.

The objective of the research is to identify and take advantage of the lessons that can be learned from the implementation of this organizational innovation. The benefits stemming from the project will result in optimizing the offer of oncogenetic services in Quebec’s local and regional facilities, for the benefit of patients and their families. An interdisciplinary and multi-institutional (CHU de Québec-Université Laval, CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches, CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent, CIUSSS du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean) team from several regions in Quebec made up of researchers, clinicians, genetic counsellors, nurses, managers and patient-partners will use their theoretical, experiential and methodological knowledge to conduct the research. The project also benefits from the collaboration of researchers from McGill University, the Université de Montréal and UQAR.


Innove-Onco thus achieves one of Oncopole’s priorities for action: bringing together stakeholders to support innovative projects that seek to optimize the organization of care and patient management in oncology.