P.A. Owren, Factor V, and the Activtation of Prothrombin

I continue working on a book on thrombin and am continually finding items that I eitehr missed many years ago or have fogotten as I moved through different areas of research. I did recall the early work on Factor V (proaccerin in the early days).and, or course, the Quick prothrombin time (1,2). While distant history today, the choice of thromboplastin for performance of the prothrombin time was a matter of considerable controversy at one time. Owren and Armand Quick were both invovled in the discovery of blood coagulation factor V and also develolped the prothrombin time assay which became useful for the control of vitamine K-antagonist therapy. The choice of thromboplastin was considered critical for the successful performance of the prothrombin time. Quick used rabbit thormboplastin in the Quick prothrombin time. Owren was eager to peform the Quick assay in his laboratory in Norway. Now, this was during WWII and it was not easy to do research. However, Owren was a determined indivudal and the story on how he obtained rabbit thromboplstin for his work (3) should be a lesson for all investigators who think they have unusual challenges.

1. Quick, A.J., The thromboplstin reagent for the determination of prothrombin, Science 92, 113-114, 1940.

2. Aggeler, P.M., Howard, J., Lucia, S.P., Clark, W., and Astaff, A., Standardization of the Quick prothrombin concentartion with use of a stable thromboplastin of high potency, Blood 1, 220-233, 1946.

3. Owren, P.A., Coagulation of blood, Northwest Medicine 56, 31-39, 1957.