New York, NY, 18 Oct. 2018 – Régine Sitruk-Ware, MD, distinguished scientist at the Population Council’s Center for Biomedical Research, has been named by TIME Magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Health Care of 2018. Dr. Sitruk-Ware is being recognized for her research and leadership, which led to the recent U.S. FDA approval of Annovera™ (segesterone acetate and ethinyl estradiol vaginal system), the first and only contraceptive that provides an entire year of protection against unintended pregnancy while fully under a woman’s control.
Dr. Sitruk-Ware, an award-winning biomedical researcher, was early to recognize the promise and potential of segesterone acetate (Nestorone®), a novel progestin, for inclusion in Annovera. She developed a clinical strategy and the supporting infrastructure at the Population Council, a nonprofit research and development organization, to test the safety and efficacy of Annovera in two pivotal Phase III clinical trials. Dr. Sitruk-Ware also has designed an extensive clinical program evaluating Nestorone in multiple other delivery systems, such as gels, sprays and implants.
“Through persistence, optimism and a team of supportive partners, Regine helped develop a new and much-needed contraceptive option that will bring millions of women greater choice, convenience and control,” said Julia Bunting, president of the Population Council. “Régine embodies what the Population Council is all about: determination and commitment, even during some of the most challenging times, to develop and deliver innovative solutions to improve health and wellbeing.”
Sitruk-Ware is a medical doctor and reproductive endocrinologist who is a global expert on progestins, one of the hormones used for contraception. Throughout her 18 years at the Population Council, she has been researching Nestorone and is ushering in a new era of contraceptive development for men. Sitruk-Ware, in collaboration with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is overseeing an upcoming Phase IIb clinical trial of a Nestorone-Testosterone gel as a contraceptive for men, the first to test the effect of a male contraceptive on the prevention of unintended pregnancy. She is also leading a team studying the potential benefits of Nestorone in neuro-regeneration and myelin repair in various disease models including multiple sclerosis and recovery from stroke.
“Contraceptive biomedical development is like an orchestra—everyone plays a part, and I share this honor with all of the team members, the partners, researchers, donors and women who have helped make Annovera possible,” said Dr. Sitruk-Ware. “We must continue pioneering efforts to develop more contraceptive options, further enabling women, men and young people to have more safe, effective and easy-to-use methods.”
In 2007, Dr. Sitruk-Ware became the first female chair of the International Committee for Contraception Research (ICCR)—an alliance of distinguished scientists and clinical investigators who have advised on and conducted clinical trials that led to the development and introduction of new contraceptive technologies, including Annovera.
For more than 60 years, Population Council researchers have developed and introduced many of the most effective and widely used contraceptive technologies available today, including the copper IUD ParaGard®; intrauterine system Mirena®; contraceptive implants Norplant® and Jadelle®; and Progering®, the contraceptive vaginal ring for breastfeeding women. It’s currently estimated that 170 million women worldwide—or one in five women using modern methods of contraception—are using contraceptives developed by or based on Population Council technologies.
Others included in the 50 Most Influential People in Health Care of 2018 list include: Bill and Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Scott Gottlieb, MD, commissioner of the U.S. FDA; Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); and Atul Gawande, MD, a prominent author and writer.
About the Population Council
The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Population Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees. Learn more at: http://www.popcouncil.org