Members of the Pregnancy & HIV/AIDS: Seeking Equitable Study (PHASES) team, including KIE director Maggie Little, were recently interviewed for Mosaic on their work in best practices for clinical research with pregnant women. The piece follows a workshop held in Ethics Lab last year focused on one of the Lab’s challenge areas: ethical issues in HIV treatment and research on pregnant populations. Last year’s two-day session, facilitated by Ethics Lab designers, brought together experts in research ethics, HIV research, and clinical research from around the world. Continue reading below for article author Emily Anthes’ summary of how PHASES came about. The full article can be found here.
Lyerly, Little and Faden hope that their latest endeavour will help remedy this problem by encouraging more scientists to perform research with pregnant women and making it easier for them to do so. Their new, NIH-funded project focuses on HIV. Although preventing women from transmitting HIV to their children has long been a scientific priority, pregnant women are still largely excluded from trials of HIV-related drugs that could benefit their own health. In 2013, the troika set out to help close this research gap, joining with Anna Mastroianni, a legal scholar at the University of Washington, to launch a project they called PHASES (Pregnancy and HIV/AIDS: Seeking Equitable Study).
The four women are working to understand the reasons pregnant women are routinely excluded from these trials and to devise potential solutions. By the time the project wraps up in 2019, they plan to have produced a set of “practical, user-friendly” guidelines for studying pregnant women. Though their focus will be on HIV, the lessons they learn, and the guidelines they ultimately develop, should be relevant for scientists who want to study other illnesses. “Our goal is nothing less than coming up with an empirically grounded and consensus-based ethical and legal framework for how and when you can do research with pregnant women,” Little says.