“KFSH&RC” Develops New Radiopharmaceutical Products to Diagnose and Treat Thyroid Cancer




A Saudi scientific team in King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh succeeded for the first time in the Middle East to produce positron radioisotope of iodine 124 with high purity and in large quantities, using the technique of positron irradiation for the coated targets of element tellurium 125.

The scientific team clarified that this success enabled developing two new radiopharmaceutical products, which are sodium iodide 124 solution and capsules, and verifying their quality and efficacy for clinical use of some cases of cancerous tumors.

Dr. Majid Al Fayyadh, Chief Executive Officer of KFSH&RC, congratulated the scientific team chaired by Dr. Ibrahim Al Jammaz and Dr. Faisal Alrumayan, on the tremendous effort and work performed by all members of the team throughout the production stages over the last two years, until the product was produced efficiently and effectively. “Innovation is one of the main pillars of the ambitious scientific environment. The Executive Administration prioritized the enhancement and support of innovative projects aiming to achieve high degrees of developing and upgrading the diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of the medical service” Dr. Al Fayyadh stated.

Dr. Ibrahim Al Jammaz, head of Cyclotron and Radiopharmaceuticals Department at the Research Center of King Faisal Specialist Hospital, stated that these new products are used in enhancing the diagnostic and therapeutic quality for patients with advanced differentiated thyroid cancer, adding that studies proved that iodine 124, through the use of Positron Emission Tomography, significantly surpasses the other isotopes currently used in the accurate diagnosis of small parts of thyroid tumors that were not suspected, pointing out that iodine 124 is more effective and accurate in determining the appropriate therapeutic radiation dose per patient than iodine 131, which makes iodine 124 one of the pillars of precision medicine in thyroid cancer and other tumors.

It is worth mentioning that KFSH&RC in Riyadh is the first center in the Middle East to produce isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals products for advanced medical purposes within the last four decades; it is one of the global centers recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency to carry out production, research and development works in the nuclear medicine fields. The hospital annually produces around 25000 doses of radiopharmaceuticals, which are used by the nuclear medicine departments in hospitals throughout the Kingdom for diagnosing many diseases and treating some cancerous tumors.