March, 2012: The ITOG Board of Directors endorsed a partnership with Academic and Community Cancer Research United (ACCRU) an affiliate of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, to conduct clinical trials.  ACCRU was selected after an extensive search to identify a partner to provide robust infrastructure necessary for thyroid cancer clinical trials. ITOG’s focus on clinical trials is an effort to build on recent success and bring new targeted therapies to thyroid cancer patients with advanced disease.  

The timing of this agreement is ideal. ITOG has received approval from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Cancer Treatment Evaluation Program (CTEP) for its first clinical trial, Phase II Study of Cabozantinib in Patients with Radioiodine-Refractory Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Who Progressed on First-Line VEGFR-Targeted Therapy. This Phase II study of Cabozantinib (Cometriq) will be opening to enrollment at The Ohio State University, the Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, University of Chicago and Massachusetts General Hospital. This will be one of the first trials to focus exclusively on patients whose tumors have progressed despite prior therapy with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

In 2011, FDA approved Vandetanib (Caprelsa) for patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Dr. Samuel Wells, ITOG’s founding Executive Director, was the principal investigator and several ITOG physicians participated in the study. This was a landmark event as MTC patients now have access to a therapy that improves progression free survival. FDA approval sends a strong signal to the pharmaceutical industry that advanced thyroid cancer is a diagnosis worthy of further investment.