Selank is a nootropic (smart drug), anxiolytic (antianxiety) peptide (string of amino acids) based drug developed by the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Russian academy of sciences. Selank is a synthetic analogue of the immunomodulatory peptide tuftsin; as such, it mimics many of its effects, strengthening the immune system. It is has been shown to influence the concentration of monoamine neurotransmitters (e.g. dopamine, serotonin) and induce metabolism of serotonin. There is evidence that it may also modulate the expression of Brain-derived neurotropic factor (which is related to nerve growth) in rats.
In clinical trials, the drug has shown to provide a sustained nootropic and anxioytic effect, which is useful for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Selank has an advantage over traditional anxiety treatments, such as benzodiazepines (e.g. valium, xanax), as it has no sedating or cognitive side effects and no associated addiction or withdrawal syndrome. Selank also has very low toxicity with an overdose proving harmless even up to 500 times the effective dose. When released, the drug will be used as a 0.15% aqueous solution which is applied to the nasal mucosa in drops. It is thought that this is the best method for absorbing peptide based drugs. The drug can be used to suppress feelings of fear and anxiety in people with anxiety disorders and to stimulate learning and memory in healthy people. As of 2010, the drug has completed stage III clinical trials in Russia and is currently waiting to be authorized for general use in that region. It is unknown if the drug will be marketed in the West or other world regions at this stage. Selank is closely related to another nootropic drug, Semax, also developed by the Institute of Molecular Genetics in Russia. This drug is currently available in Russian and Ukrainian pharmacies.