A new purpose for an existing drug

March 27, 2017 | Press Releases & Announcements

Professor C Mary Schooling authors “Tachykinin neurokinin 3 receptor antagonists: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease?”

Every day about 2000 Americans die of cardiovascular disease, with men being more vulnerable than women. Development of new treatments for cardiovascular disease has recently encountered many expensive failures in late-stage trials which has discouraged investment to combat the leading cause of global morbidity and mortality. To address this gap Professor Schooling used the well-known evolutionary biology theory of growth and reproduction trading off against lifespan to identify an existing class of drugs that could be repurposed to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease. Neurokinin 3 receptor (NK3R) antagonists were originally extensively developed as anti-psychotics where they failed completely. However, NK3R antagonists also happen to act centrally on the reproductive axis and thereby reduce androgens, similar to many other effect treatments for cardiovascular disease including statins, digoxin and spironolactone and other hypertensives. The Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada have warned of the cardiovascular risk of testosterone. As such, NK3R antagonists represent a new approach to prevent and treat a major contributor to the global burden of disease as well as to address the shorter life expectancy of men compared women.

In summary, Professor Schooling says, “This is an exciting discovery of an existing drug that could be repurposed to prevent and/or treat a very common and under-researched condition. The next step is a clinical trial.”


Schooling CM, Tachykinin neurokinin 3 receptor antagonists: a new treatment for cardiovascular disease? Lancet. 2017 Mar 27th