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Ethical and Regulatory Considerations of Placental Therapeutics

David, AL; (2021) Ethical and Regulatory Considerations of Placental Therapeutics. Clinical Therapeutics 10.1016/j.clinthera.2021.01.003. (In press).

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Placental therapeutics aim to treat placental disease; however, ethical and regulatory issues should be considered if the drug also potentially affects the fetus. Drugs that might transfer or edit genes carry a specific challenge because currently fetal gene editing and fetal gene therapy are considered unethical. METHODS: This article reviews the literature on ethical and regulatory considerations for placental therapeutics. FINDINGS: Proposals for maternal gene therapy, directed to the maternal side of the placenta, have been discussed with patients and stakeholders. No absolute ethical, legal, or regulatory barriers to this potential treatment were identified. Patients who have experienced placental disease, such as fetal growth restriction, are interested in these therapies; some would participate in first-in-human trials. Such trials need careful regulatory considerations, such as the steps required to indicate tolerability and efficacy in preclinical models and the optimal animals for reproductive toxicology studies. Ex vivo dual human placenta perfusion experiments and villous explant in vitro studies allow drugs to be tested in normal and diseased human placenta, providing short-term tolerability and toxicologic assessment. Testing drugs in nonhuman primates is an option but carries ethical and feasibility considerations. Selection of inclusion and exclusion criteria for clinical trial participants is important to ensure that the most suitable patients are exposed to a first-in-human drug. These patients will almost certainly be pregnant women with a high risk of perinatal loss and/or perinatal and maternal morbidity. Criteria should identify sufficient numbers of patients to make a trial feasible as well as a phenotype that will respond to the mechanism of action. How to dose escalate and to capture information on adverse events are also key to optimal clinical trial design. IMPLICATIONS: Developing placental therapeutics requires input from scientists, practitioners, and regulators and close liaison with patients to ensure that new drugs are tested as carefully as possible.

Type: Article
Title: Ethical and Regulatory Considerations of Placental Therapeutics
Location: United States
DOI: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2021.01.003
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2021.01.003
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: adverse events, ethics, fetus, gene therapy, mother
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Maternal and Fetal Medicine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123448
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