History of the International Thyroid Oncology Group

ITOG's orgins can be traced to the tireless efforts of our four founding members, Dr. Robert Gagel, Dr. Samuel Wells Jr., Dr. Barry Nelkin, and Mr. Dwight Vicks. In 2003, Dr. Gagel, Dr. Gilbert Cote, and Dr. Steven Sherman met with Mr. Vicks to discuss the obstacles preventing the discovery of new therapies for thyroid cancer patients. For years thyroid cancer had been incorrectly perceived as always curable, when in fact many patients experience significant morbidity and mortality from their disease. This perception resulted in minimal efforts from federal funding agencies and pharmaceutical companies to conduct clinical research necessary to identify new and effective drugs. Finally, there was a shortage of endocrinologists and oncologists with a career focus on thyroid cancers. These issues prompted the formation of ITOG which held it’s first organizational meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in 2006. At this meeting, Dr. Gagel was elected founding President, Dr. Wells, was elected as founding Executive Director, and Mr. Vicks was elected as founding Secretary and Treasurer. A Board of Directors was established and the core mission of ITOG was codified:

  • Bring together a multidisciplinary team of endocrinologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and basic scientists to focus on development of thyroid cancer clinical trials.
  • Design, coordinate, and prioritize state-of-the-art clinical trials and correlative science so that ITOG can catalyze a cure for thyroid cancer.
  • Mentor the next generation of clinicians and scientists to tackle the key problems facing our patients with thyroid cancer.
  • Raise public awareness of the importance of thyroid cancer research.

International Thyroid Oncology Group executive council 2007
ITOG began conducting an Annual Meeting in order to promote it’s clinical and scientific mission. ITOG Annual Meetings have been organized and held at leading biomedical research institutions and hospitals.

  • 2007 Washington, D.C., organized by Dr. Samuel Wells, Jr
  • 2009 M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, organized by Drs. Gagel and Sherman
  • 2010 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, organized by Drs. Fagin, Pfister, and Sherman 
  • 2011 Johns Hopkins Cancer Center, organized by Drs. Nelkin and Ball 
  • 2012 The Ohio State University, organized by Drs. Shah and Ringel 
  • 2013 Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, organized by Drs. Bible and Smallridge 
  • 2014 Massachusetts General Hospital, organized by Drs. Wirth, Parangi, McFadden, and Abrams 
  • 2015 Sapienza Universita di Roma, organized by Drs. Filetti and Schlumberger 
  • 2016 University of Colorado, organized by Drs. Haugen and Schweppe 
  • 2017 Duke University, organized by Dr. Julie Ann Sosa
  • 2018 University of California Los Angeles, organized by Drs. Sacks and Gianoukakis
  • 2019 Weill Cornell Medical College and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, organized by Drs. Sherman, Houvras, Tuttle, Ho, and Pfister

Since its inception ITOG has seen tremendous growth. Not-for-profit status has been formalized, the organization adopted a set of bylaws for its governance, and an elected Board of Directors who serve three year terms was installed. In 2012 ITOG established a relationship with ACCRU, a clinical trials group organized by Mayo Clinic, to conduct clinical trials. In late 2012 the first ITOG sponsored clinical trial was approved, a major milestone for the organization.


International Thyroid Oncology Group
5166 Commercial Drive
Yorkville, New York 13495