The Foundation for Thymic Cancer Research (FTCR) was founded in 2003 by patients and family members with a thymic malignancy who were determined to change the status quo of limited knowledge and understanding of this disease. The FTCR organized several conferences of people who have published in this field (in New York in 2007 and Houston in 2008). This culminated in co-sponsorship, together with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), of the first International Conference on Thymic Malignancies in Bethesda in August of 2009. During the course of these meetings it was clear that real progress would require creation of a scientific infrastructure to foster collaborative research. The concept of a scientific organization dedicated to thymic malignancies and other mediastinal diseases was born in late 2008. Preliminary work during the first half of 2009 led to the implementation of a transitional structure at the August conference at the NIH. The work of the transitional workgroups led to the initiation of ITMIG as a formal organization at the 1st ITMIG conference in New York on May 5 and 6, 2010. This conference generated much enthusiasm and excitement, and was attended by 117 participants from over 20 countries. Since then we have only gained recognition and support of the medical community across all disciplines.
History of ITMIG
The Birth of ITMIG
Growth of ITMIG
ITMIG has had a steep upwards trajectory. Only 9 months after forming a transitional structure, ITMIG became a formal organization, with legal recognition, bylaws, and with approximately 20 active workgroups and committees. Since inception a tremendous amount has been accomplished. ITMIG had clearly demonstrated an ability to get the global medical community interested in thymic disease collaboratively engaged. In 2012 ITMIG was published in the ASCO Educational book titling “ITMIG as a Role Model for Rare Diseases.”
ITMIG held its first annual meeting in May of 2010. Subsequent meetings have been held in conjunction with The World Conference on Lung Cancer and in Japan with the Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference and also near the National Institute of Health in the USA. As an organization ITMIG has held several pathology workshops and an additional meeting where a global consensus of definitions and policies was achieved (See special issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, June, 2011.)
ITMIG will be working in conjunction with The International Staging Committee of IASLC to develop a validated stage classification system for the next iteration of the official stage classification of tumors (2017).
The ITMIG retrospective database is an astounding success. Approximately 50 institutions around the globe have gone through their institutions clinical experience and contributed their data, thus creating an unprecedented global database of over 6000 cases. This resource permits progress in ways that have never before been possible.
Looking towards the future a big focus for the organization will be research. Clinical and basic research studies are in various stages of development and will provide a solid basis for optimal, evidence-based treatment and original thinking leading to novel insights.