Although therapy with heavy particles like neutrons, protons or heavier ions has now a rather long history of several decades, but there are more open questions than settled problems. This fact is really amazing because the use of the high LET particles, neutrons and heavy ions was strongly motivated by radiobiological arguments. Presently, the use of protons with a better physical dose distribution is more widely accepted than neutrons or heavy ions where the expected high LET benefit could not be verified clinically. This demonstrates that predictions made on the basis of radiobiological experiments cannot be transferred directly from in vitro experiments to the therapy situation. In particular, it is not possible to transfer an average RBE value measured in vitro in an extended exposure field to the treatment situation. Therefore, in the following section the dependence of RBE on LET, dose and radiosensitivity will be summarized and compared to models. Basic experiments illustrating the RBE problem in a particle field will be described. The fundamentals of a recently developed track structure model will be given and calculations will be compared to experiments. Finally, a short outline of possible future developments for radiobiology will be presented. (orig.)Available from FIZ Karlsruhe / FIZ - Fachinformationszzentrum Karlsruhe / TIB - Technische InformationsbibliothekSIGLEDEGerman
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