The ordering and performance of research and clinical research FDG-PET/CT scans is complicated. Research studies typically require an investigational radiopharmaceutical. These studies are typically much more complicated and require more organization to schedule and perform. Clinical research PET studies are more complicated from a reimbursement perspective. This is due to the need for insurance coverage, reimbursement issues related to Medicare beneficiaries, and whether the patient is participating in an IRB-approved clinical trial. The majority of clinical PET/CT scans are performed in the Huntsman Cancer Institute Cancer Hospital on the third floor. Clinical trials requiring FDG-PET/CT imaging are done in the CQCI. This is to ensure compliance and that the PET imaging is performed as outlined in the research protocol and imaging manual. The studies often require scanner validation with phantom studies.
If the patient is on a research study where the FDG-PET/CT scans are part of an approved IRB study, and even if deemed a standard of care study, they will most likely be performed in the CQCI.
In addition, the images are often sent for central review, and additional post-processing may be required per the study protocol.