Biomedical Physics

The Biomedical Physics Department was established in 1985 with three sections. It has now eight sections and more than 50 professional staff members.

The Molecular Biomedicine Department


The Biomedical Physics Department was established in 1985 with three sections. It has now eight sections and more than 50 professional staff members. The Department's mission is to seek, apply and disseminate concepts and methods for the effective and safe use of radiation in the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases, and to continue improving and expanding such use through clinical research activities.


High-quality clinical physics services are provided by a pool of expert biomedical physics staff most of whom are board-certified by international certification boards such as the American Board of Radiology (ABR). The pool of experts is matched with the state-of-the-Art technologies such as TomoTherapy, CyberKnife, TrueBeam, Mobetron, Nucletron HDR, IntraBeam Intraoperative Radiotherapy system, conventional and digital PET/CT systems and several high end CT and MRI systems here at KFSH&RC. This comonation enable the Hospital to provide clinical services that are of a high standard that is well recognized nationally and internationally.


Through the Biomedical Physics Department, KFSH&RC is designated as an IAEA Collborating Centre in the region. The Secondary Standard Dosimerty Laboratory of the Biodmedical Physics Deparrtment was also recently designated as an IAEA Regional Resource Centre. The Radiation Physics Section has successfully met the requirments of the IAEA QUATRO accreditation and KFSH&RC became an IAEA ‘Centre of Competence. In addition, the radiation physics and nuclear medicine physics residency programs at the Biomedical Physics Centre are recognized and supported by the IAEA.


The department offers a number of radiation physics services that are utilized by a great number of internal/ external clients. Some of the offered services includes; radiation physics consultation, personal dosimetry, quality control of diagnostic and therapeutic systems, gamma irradiation, calibration and training course.
Review publication on Research Center annual report from Department of Biomedical Physics at KFSH&RC.


Programs, Courses and workshops:
The Biomedical Physics Department provides a series of educational activities including conferences, symposiums, courses and workshops that aims at raising the standard of health-care practitioners in the field of radiation medicine in the Kingdom. Some of the provided educational activities include but not limited to:
•The International Conference on Radiation Medicine (ICRM)
•The Radiation Medicine Symposium and Workshops
•Medical Radiation Safety Officer Training Course
•Radiation safety Training for Nurses/technologists
•Radiation/Diagnostic Physics lectures to residents and fellows
•MRI Safety
•Abstracts/posters presentations in local, regional and international conferences.
•Presenting of lectures in academic teaching and seminars locally and internationally.
•Training and supervising MSc and PhD students and summer students
•Conducting national trainining programs in association with the IAEA
•Residency program in Radaition Physics and Nuclear Medicine Physics which is supported by the IAEA


List of focus areas with description
The Department's focus is on the effective and safe application of radiation in the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases, utilizing research and innovation.
Research in the department covers most of our scientific fields; Radiation Oncology, Diagnostic Imaging, Nuclear Medicine, Functional MRI Imaging, Health Physics, Radiation Safety, Radiation Monitoring of patients and radiation workers, Medical 3D Printing, Gamma-Sterilization of bone grafts and medical devices, Radiobiology, Biodosimetry and Radiation Emergencies. We foster national and international partnerships with recognized clinical and research institutes in support of quality patient care.


List of sections with general overview
Radiation Oncology Physics Section (ROPS)
The Radiation Oncology Physics Section focuses on the therapeutic applications of radiation in medicine. The primary activities are devoted to clinical physics and quality assurance services for cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. The ROPS aims to provide the best clinical physics and quality assurance services to radiation oncology and also to maintain a continuous quality improvement program.
The ROPS is the largest section in the department. Its responsibilities include quality control for the therapeutic linear accelerators, simulators, CT and MRI simulators, treatment planning systems and brachytherapy equipment. The section also plays a vital role in selecting suitable radiation therapy equipment, designing facilities’ shielding and obtaining accurate data from equipment used for clinical services. The section supports the treatment of more than 1,500 cancer patients per year by providing more than 3,000 medical physics procedures annually.
In 2006, the ROPS, in collaboration with the Oncology Center, launched a state-of-the-art intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) service, which became the de facto cancer treatment technique at KFSH&RC covering more than 24 tumor sites. In 2009, ROPS spearheaded the program for the procurement of the advanced modes of high-precision and innovative radiotherapy techniques; TomoTherapy, CyberKnife and RapidArc, as well as Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) and Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy (IORT). Future plans for expanding the treatment services include AI-driven personalized optimized radiotherapy, 3D gel dosimetry, 3D printing, proton and hadron therapy. The section principle aim is to operate a Centre of Excellence in clinical medical physics and radiation oncology.


Clinical Dosimetry & Treatment Planning (CDTPU)
The Clinical Dosimetry and Treatment Planning Unit is a sub-section of the ROPS. It comprises medical dosimetrists and physicists. The group works closely in collaboration with radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, imaging physicists, radiation oncology physicists, radiologists, surgeons and radiation biologists. It is charged with conducting radiation treatment plans and dosimetric calculations for a wide variety of malignant cancers and benign diseases.
The aim of radiation treatment planning is to design plans that optimize the dose to tumor volumes while minimizing the dose that vital organs and normal tissues receive. This is achieved with sophisticated computer algorithms and state-of-the-art planning techniques using various radiation energies, beam modifiers, intensity modulation, etc. The latest image fusion techniques are used to fuse CT with MR and PET images to assist the radiation oncologists in delineating tumors accurately. Extensive QA is performed regularly to ensure that actual treatment is delivered as planned.
Every plan and calculation performed by dosimetrist or physicist also have an independent check by another physics staff member. Also, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) plans are further checked with sophisticated QA software before the patients are treated.
IMRT was implemented in July 2006 for the first time to treat a patient with nasopharyngeal cancer. KFSH&RC was the first institution to employ this state of the art technique in the Kingdom. Currently, in the Kingdom only IMRT is able to conform to complex tumor volumes while better sparing adjacent critical organs. However, KFSH&RC will soon again be at the forefront by introducing new modalities that will possibly even improve on what IMRT and IGRT offer. Clinical consultation is provided to radiation oncologists to assist in offering the best possible individual treatment plans for their patients.


Imaging Physics Section (IPS)
The imaging physics section provides professional medical physics clinical services that support a wide range of imaging modalities. The ultimate role of the imaging physics team is to maximize diagnostic imaging qualities while minimizing the radiation dose at safe levels. The team works closely with clinical counterparts in radiology, cardiology, oncology and dentistry.
The imaging physics section is divided into two groups namely; nuclear medicine and diagnostic imaging. The activities of both groups include; clinical services, training & education and research.
The clinical activities provided by the team include testing, optimizing and quality assurance of more than 150 diagnostic imaging units in all modalities i.e. general radiography, angiography, mammography, fluoroscopy, computer tomography, SPECT, SPECT-CT, PET-CT, ultrasound and MRI. The team also plays an instrumental role in acquiring and maintaining national/international accreditation such as CBAHI, JCI, and ACR.
Continuous training and education are key factors for quality improvement. The imaging physics team is actively involved in providing training and educational activities to our clinical counterparts including residents, fellows, radiologists, technologists and nurses. The team is also involved in training junior medical physicists inimaging physics.
The team has established a medical physics residency program in nuclear medicine. The residency program is recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In terms of research, the team is involved with various transitional research activities that aim at improving diagnostic imaging qualities and lowering patient radiation exposure. The team collaborates with several national and international organizations in its research activities. Some of these organizations include; SFDA, WHO, and IAEA.


Health Physics Section (HPS)
The role of the Health Physics Section is defined based on the importance of establishing a rigorous radiation protection program within the KFSH&RC as chartered in 1975. The Section provides technical support to departments utilizing radiation-producing equipment or radioactive materials to help meet radiation-related regulations and compliance requirements. The Section is also responsible for radiation surveys of work areas and equipment, personnel dose monitoring, patients and staff dose assessment.
The HPS plays a vital role in the hospital in limiting the risk from radiation exposure to patients, staff and members of the public. It promotes proper usage of radiation and strives to lessen radiation exposure to minimal levels.
The Section complies with existing regulations and recommendations from the ICRP, ICRU, NCRP and IAEA in establishing and enforcing good radiation safety policies and practices by contributing to continuing education programs in radiation usage and protection. It also collaborates with other institutions in enforcing the application of existing methods, techniques, and equipment for protection of their patients and staff.
The HPS maintains a personnel radiation dose monitoring service based on thermoluminescent dosimetry (TLD) that is licensed by Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Commission (NRRC), the Section meets the high international standards for radiation protection. It utilizes two Harshaw 6600 automated TLD systems to read and analyze the TLD cards (uniquely identified with bar code reference numbers) and a Personnel Dose Information System (PDIS) for electronic storage of dose records, computerized dose calculation and report generation. This service is provided to KFSH&RC staff and also many hospitals, government and private institutions in the Kingdom and throughout the Gulf region at a very reasonable cost. The HPS recently is also providing OSL resading service.
The Section provides support and assistance to radiation users by formulating proper codes of practice and implementation of regulations. It distributes and processes radiation monitoring equipment, evaluates the results and maintains employee exposure records. The section also performs periodic monitoring of radiation areas and measures, with portable or fixed instruments, fields of radiation, air or water-borne radioactivity, movement of radioactive material and possible radioactive contamination. The section generates contingency plans for handling radiation-related emergencies. It also performs shielding calculations for installations involving radiation, reviews shielding plans, confirms exact measurements of facilities after the installation of radiation sources and assesses shielding integrity. The section assists with the re-issuing of the institutional Radiation Safety Manual every three years.


Secondary Standard Dosimetry Laboratory (SSDL)
The Secondary Standard Dosimetry Laboratory was established in 1980 and became a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)/World Health Organization (WHO) SSDL Network in 1988. The main objective of the SSDL is to establish, maintain and disseminate national reference standards of air kerma and absorbed dose to water for photon beams. The SSDL provides calibration of radiation measuring instruments used within the hospital and extends its calibration services throughout the Kingdom, the Gulf region and beyond. The calibration is traceable to the IAEA and to many Primary Standard Dosimetry Laboratories. The SSDL has a comprehensive range of calibration capabilities, which has recently been enhanced with the installation of new irradiation facilities and the development/implementation of new calibration techniques.
Radiation protection calibration level utilizing several irradiators and sources:
Seven (07) 137Cs sources from 0.05 Ci to 430 Ci and one (01) 60Co source of 0.15 Ci
Nine (09) ISO 4037-2019 x-ray narrow beam qualities from N40 to N300
One (01) Am-Be neutron source with an activity of 3 Ci*
Several a and b sources for the calibration of radioactivity detectors and contamination monitors *.
Diagnostic Radiology Calibration level (RQR, RQA, RQT and RQM) utilizing a 160 kV x-ray irradiator*
Contact-therapy x-ray calibration level (T1 to T4) using both x-ray tubes*
Radiotherapy calibration level utilizing a 5 kCi 60Co gamma source*
Radiotherapy high energy calibrations using a high energy linear accelerator (under establishment) *
Calibration of well type ionization chambers used in High Dose Rate Brachytherapy using 192Ir HDR source*
* Our SSDL is the only calibration laboratory in the region currently offering these calibration services on a routine basis.


Radiation Biology Section (RBS)
This section provides the biological basis of the many uses of radiation in medicine and allied health professions. It is devoted to study the actions of radiation from energy deposition to biological consequences and sequelae on living materials and organisms. The scope covers the three major clinical radiological specialties: diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine, and radiation therapy, and the potential detrimental effects on the general population from non-medical uses of different types of radiation.
The RBS works in close collaboration with medical physicists, radiologists, radiation oncologists and other risk, safety and radiation protection professionals. Radiation therapy is a major arm of cancer treatment along with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and emerging immune and gene therapy. The radiosensitivity of tumors and normal tissues varies considerably between patients. These variations are mainly governed by genetic factors. Research focus on studying the genetic determinants of radiosensitivity in Saudi cancer patients. The aim is to identify a predictive test that will allow for tailoring of the cancer treatment regime for each individual patient. The objective is to improve treatment outcome by increasing tumor control while reducing complications in normal tissues and improving quality of life for cancer survivors. The RBS provides also biodosimetry services through an IAEA/WHO affiliated cytogenetic biodosimetry laboratory to estimate medically relevant radiation doses received in cases of accidental or premeditated radiation accidents and emergencies. The laboratory conducts also research to devise new biomarkers of radiation exposure to improve the assessment of accidental radiation exposure in the Kingdom.


Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF)
Gamma irradiation is a simple and safe process involving the exposure of products to radiation from an intense cobalt-60 gamma source, for a pre-determined time so as to receive a prescribed sterilizing dose. Being a 'cold' process, heat-sensitive materials like plastics can be effectively sterilized so as to be extensively used for manufacturing of medical products with flexibility in packaging and shape of the products.
The Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) aim is to provide gamma irradiation services for sterilization, disinfection and radiation effect studies for KFSH&RC departments and healthcare products' manufacturers in the Kingdom.
GIF was established in 1980 for the sterilization of healthcare products at KFSH&RC. Nowadays, GIF offers commercial sterilization services to manufacturers of healthcare and pharmaceutical products. Consequently, single use, pre-packed and sterilized health care products have become available on a large scale. The products commonly sterilized by gamma radiation include cotton products (e.g., gauze and dressings), metallic products (e.g., tubes, needles and surgical blades), pharmaceuticals (e.g., ophthalmic ointments and antibiotic powders), plastic and rubber products (e.g., gloves, catheters and Petri dishes), contraceptives, sutures and beauty and cosmetic powders. All processing parameters are validated by international standards such as IAEA, & ISO-11137 guidelines for operation of gamma sterilization irradiators.
We expose products to gamma radiation at different doses to produce sterilization or disinfection, conduct scientific experiments on materials to study the effect of radiation and its compatibility with sterilization and advise our customers on compatibility of packaging materials and good manufacturing practice.


Molecular and Functional Imaging (MFI)
The Molecular and Functional Imaging (MFI) Section has a multi-disciplinary research group. Its mission is to stimulate and conduct research in the fields of molecular and functional imaging in close collaboration and cooperation with inter- and intra-institutional stakeholders, including industry.
The MFI is committed to leadership and excellence in advancing the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human diseases through its tripartite mission focused on research, education and community service highlighted by cutting-edge research in the fields of molecular and functional imaging.


The biomedical Physics Departments offer a series number of services that are offered to internal/external clients. Here is a list of some of the key services:
•Medical physics consultations
•Patient-specific QA
•Treatment planning
•Calibration of radiation detector
•Personal dosimetry services
•Acceptance testing and annual physics QC
•Periodical quality control procedures
•Gamma irradiation/sterilization
•Patient dosimetry
•Shielding calculations/verification
•Contamination measurements

Biomedical Physics Department is carried out by a talented and specialized collaborative team. This includes scientist and research technical staff.
•Medical Physicist
•Medical Dosimetrist
•Principal Scientist
•Post-Doctoral Fellow
•Research Associate
•Research Assistant
•Health Physicist
Technical Specialist
Medical Physics Technician
Health physics Technician
Gamma Facility Operator


Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our site, you agree to our use of cookies.

Beta Version