Jaques, Louis B. (1911–97)

L.B. Jaques (behind), Linda Hiebert (left), and technician Sandra Wice study a slide showing endothelial cells and heparin.
University of Saskatchewan Archives, Division of Audio-Visual Services A-10398

Born in Toronto on July 11, 1911, Jaques received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 1941, as a member of the research team of Dr. Charles H. Best. He came to the University of Saskatchewan in 1946 as professor and head of the Department of Physiology, a post he held until 1971.

His world-renowned research group studied various aspects of blood clotting, in particular the chemistry and biology of heparin as an anticoagulant. They demonstrated great variability in the chemical and biological properties of heparin preparations, and were instrumental in the development of the first International Heparin Standard. Jaques’ tireless efforts led to trials of intrapulmonary administration of heparin, thus avoiding the discomfort of repeated injections in patients requiring prolonged therapy. His group also pioneered the cellular pool hypothesis, the concept that heparin is stored in cells and is released slowly into the blood—providing an explanation for its prolonged clinical effectiveness. After retirement in 1979, Jaques continued to bring new ideas to the heparin story, in particular the possibility of oral administration.

Because of the work of this distinguished pioneer in medical science, many lives were saved, for without heparin the development of open-heart surgery would have been impossible.

Jaques was the author of 220 scientific articles. In 1952 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 1977 he was awarded the Heart Foundation of Canada Outstanding Service Award as well as a Certificate of Appreciation by the Canadian Hemophilia Society. He died in Toronto on May 16, 1997.

Armin Wollin