How to Set Up a Research Study

There are five steps for setting up a research study:

  • Protocol Development
  • PET Application
  • Review by PET Committee
  • Billing Codes
  • Scheduling

Protocol Development

Every protocol that involves studies that will be done in a manner that differs from the standard clinical PET or PET/CT protocols must have a Nuclear Medicine Authorized User (AU) involved in the Protocol Development and listed on the protocol (please follow the links for a description of the standard protocols and a listing of the AUs on the personnel page). The AU can help in the development of a protocol that will target the particular hypothesis being studied while ensuring adequate image quality and maintaining superior clinical standards of excellence.

If you are having difficulty finding an AU, please contact Daniel Pryma (215-349-5272; daniel.pryma@uphs.upenn.edu).

For budgeting purposes, the current study charge summary for standard scans can be downloaded. If the scans described in the charge summary do not adequately describe your particular study, please contact Joel Karp (215-662-3073) to discuss the study charges. The study charges are not gauranteed for the length of a research study. They are subject to change with approval by the School of Medicine.

PET Application

To begin the process, please download the PET application form.

Completely fill out the PET application form. This includes information about the people associated with the research study and some specifics about the equipment and radiopharmaceuticals that will be used for the studies. If you are unsure about how to answer a particular question, please contact the AU associated with your protocol for guidance.

Any questions that are left unanswered or are answered incompletely may delay the review and approval while clarification is obtained.

Review by PET Committee

Your application must be reviewed and approved by the IRB (Institutional Review Board), the RDRC (Radioactive Drug Research Committee), and the PET Committee. Each committee has a different focus and, as such, the approval of the protocol by the individual committees is done in concert.

The final approval will come from the IRB, once both the RDRC and PET Committee have approved the protocol. Study participants cannot be scheduled until final approval from the IRB is received.

Billing Codes

Every research protocol in Nuclear Medicine receives a PET Discount Code (commonly referred to as a Billing Code). This billing code links your particular study to your funding source (usually a FinMis Account). The billing code is a six character alphanumeric code that usually starts with "PET," i.e a billing code may be "PETABC."

In order to obtain a billing code, in addition to the PET Application Form, you must provide the name and contact information of the research coordinator who will primarily escort patients to the Nuclear Medicine department for their studies. Once all necessary information is received, a request will be submitted to have a new billing code created.

This process generally takes about two weeks, once the request is submitted. A study participant cannot be scheduled for a scan until this billing code is obtained. A single protocol can have multiple billing codes if it involes multiple funding sources or the use of multiple radiopharmaceuticals.

Scheduling

All research studies, except for standard-of-care FDG research studies, must be scheduled through Alex Wills. The PET scan request form must be emailed to Alex Wills, so that he can schedule the study. Please be aware that for a non-FDG study (i.e FLT, EF-5, etc.), there may be scheduling limitations due to the times at which the radiopharmaceutical can be delivered.

To schedule standard-of-care FDG research studies, call Radiology scheduling at 215-662-3000 and have all information in the PET scan request form available for the scheduler.