Scholz, M. and Kraft, G. The Physical and Radiobiological Basis of the Local Effect Model: A Response to the Commentary by R. Katz. Radiat. Res. 161, 612–620 (2004).
The physical and biological basis of our model to calculate the biological effects of charged particles, termed the local effect model (LEM), has recently been questioned in a commentary by R. Katz. Major objections were related to the definition of the target size and the use of the term cross section. Here we show that the objections raised against our approach are unjustified and are largely based on serious misunderstandings of the conceptual basis of the local effect model. Furthermore, we show that the approach developed by Katz and coworkers itself suffers from exactly those deficiencies for which Katz criticizes our model. The essential conceptual differences between the two models are discussed by means of some illustrative examples, based on a comparison with experimental data. For these examples, the predictions of the local effect model are fully consistent with the experimental data. In contrast, e.g. for very heavy ions, there are significant discrepancies observed for the Katz approach. These discrepancies can be attributed to the inadequate definition of the target size in this model. Experimental data are thus clearly in favor of the definition of the target as used in the local effect model. Agreement with experimental data is achieved for protons within the Katz approach but at the cost of questionable approximations in combination with the violation of the fundamental physical principle of energy conservation.