Guide to submitting research applications to the Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee (ARSAC).
If you are a study sponsor you must obtain Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee (ARSAC) research approval for all your research projects where the protocol:
- requires the administration of radioactive substances
- specifies the frequency, activity or processing for an administration that would otherwise be considered standard care
You do not need to obtain ARSAC research approval for research projects where:
- the protocol does not specify any administrations of radioactive substances
- the only administration of a radioactive substance mentioned in the protocol is an inclusion criterion that would be received by all participants as part of standard care, for example, a trial where all participants must have received a radioiodine therapy to be considered eligible
Submit a new application to ARSAC
Follow these steps to submit your application:
- Create a preliminary research assessment (PRA) form on the Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) for new studies that involve the administration of radioactive substances.
- Check and electronically sign all sections of the PRA form in IRAS.
- Create a New Research Application on the ARSAC online portal at the same time as you submit the Research Ethics Committee (REC) application to the REC. You will need to create an account if you do not have one already.
- Complete all required questions and attach the PRA form and a copy of the participant information sheet (PIS). If your study has gone through radiation assurance, please attach F1 of the research exposure form. Please note the research protocol is only required for studies involving therapeutic nuclear medicine procedures. Further guidance on how to use the online portal is available.
Once ARSAC receives your application, details on how and when to pay the fee will be provided depending on the type of study and your preferred payment method:
- multi-centre studies: £350
- single-centre studies: £300
- low dose studies (<1mSv total participant dose): £200
All communication will be made through the online portal, but you will also receive email notifications.
Once the study has been approved, the approval document will be added to the portal for you to download and share.
Individual research sites
Study sponsors should notify the practitioner (for example, the nuclear medicine physician) and the employer under the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations (IR(ME)R) about the research protocol during set-up, before any administrations take place at each medical radiological installation. Sponsors can download the approval document from the online portal, this lists the approved procedures. The Sponsor should provide the approval document to the practitioner and employer.
Amendments to research studies
You should notify ARSAC of any changes to a study involving the administration of radioactive substances because this may affect the approval granted. Changes include, but are not limited to:
- changes to the number of administrations of radioactive substances from Section A1 of the original PRA
- addition or removal of a procedure involving the administration of radioactive substances
- addition of a new study population with a different clinical condition (including changing of the age of participants)
- addition of healthy volunteers receiving administrations of radioactive substances
- changes to the radiation risk information in the PIS following changes to the protocol for the administration of radioactive substances
Such changes normally meet the criteria for notifying substantial amendments to the Research Ethics Committee. If you are not sure if your amendment requires ARSAC approval you can contact the Support Unit for guidance by email or telephone prior to submitting your application.
Follow these steps to submit an amendment application to ARSAC:
Create an Amendment to Research Application on the ARSAC online portal at the same time as you submit the notice of substantial amendment to the Research Ethics Committee. You will need to create an account if you do not have one already.
Complete all required questions and attach the following:
- notice of Substantial Amendment
- updated PRA form if there are changes to the number of administrations, to the procedures involving radioactive substances or to the study population (note: you will need to revise the integrated dataset Part A or B3, or both and then create an up-to-date PDF of the PRA form via the submission tab in IRAS)
- any other relevant documents, for example a participant information sheet or updated protocol for therapeutic studies
Further guidance on how to use the online portal is available.
Once you have submitted your amendment application, ARSAC will send you details on how and when to pay the fee.
- low dose studies (<1mSv total participant dose): £200
- multi-centre and single centre studies with >1mSv dose: £250
While ARSAC assesses the amendment, the previous approval is unaffected and administrations may continue as stated in the previously approved application form.
Once the study has been approved, an approval document will be added to the portal for you to download and share with participating sites. Individual installations can then proceed with the amended study for all procedures on their licence and the approval document. It is not necessary for each installation to notify ARSAC of amendments.
You should notify ARSAC of changes to research trial titles to ensure the approval remains valid.
Notifications should be made to the ARSAC Support Unit by email to ARSAC@phe.gov.uk and are not subject to a fee. You should include a formal study document (amendment tool, IRAS form, PIS) which details the new full trial title.
ARSAC Support Unit
Telephone: 01235 825006