Radioiodine-concentrating activity in thyroid tissues has allowed the use of radioiodine as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent for patients with thyroid disorders such as well-differentiated thyroid cancer. However, some extrathyroidal tissues also take up radioiodine, contributing to unwanted side effects of radioiodine therapy. Now that the molecule that mediates radioiodine uptake, the sodium iodide symporter (NIS), has been cloned and characterized, it may be possible to develop novel strategies to differentially modulate NIS expression and/or activity, enhancing it in target tissues and impeding it in others. In addition to restoring NIS expression/activity to ensure sufficient radioiodine uptake for the diagnosis and treatment of advanced thyroid cancers, we envision that it may be possible to selectively increase or confer NIS expression/activity in tumors of nonthyroidal tissues to facilitate the use of radioiodine in their diagnosis and treatment. We also consider the molecular basis of thyroid and nonthyroid disorders that may be complicated by NIS deregulation. Finally, we explore the use of NIS as an imaging reporter gene to monitor the expression profile of the transgene in transgenic mouse animal models and in patients undergoing gene therapy clinical trials.