Oxytocin Derived Biosensor for Neurodegenerative Disorders

Yitzchaik Shlomo , HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Institute of Chemistry
Hurevich Mattan , HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Institute of Chemistry



Zinc and copper are essential metal-ions for numerous biological processes.  Their levels are tightly maintained in all body organs. Impairment of serum Zn2+ to Cu2+ ratio (ZCR) was found to correlate with many disease states, including immunological and inflammatory disorders, multiple sclerosis, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, skin diseases and cancer. Thus a cheap, easy to operate, fast and sensitive method is needed for early detection of the neurodegenerative diseases and for follow up of proper treatment.

Our Innovation

The inventors developed an oxytocin based sensor (OT-Sensor) for detection of Zn2+ and Cu by immobilizing the neuropeptide onto glassy carbon electrode (GCE).

Preclinical Results

The analytical applicability was validated by discrimination between healthy and multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. We demonstrated that the metal-dependent change in the conformation of OT produces a unique electrochemical signal pattern that is the outcome of the collective peptides response on the surface.


  • Simple, cheap, highly sensitive and selective device for fast quantification of Zn2+ and Cu2+ in biological and environmental systems.
  • A straightforward way of ionic profiling in biofluids.
  • Test outcome can be directly transmitted to any personal communicating device to enable fast and simple diagnostic tools.



The biosensor reaches sub-nanomolar sensitivities (i.e., with femtomolar concentrations limit of detection) that is superior to the reported optical and electrical alternatives.  The new technology, incorporated into a chip for convenient use at point of care (POC) or in the laboratory, will provide a novel means of detecting neurodegenerative disorders and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment where complex, costly and often invasive methods are currently required.



Trace metals are essential for all biological processes and can be detected using biosensors.  The technology was successfully demonstrated for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. It could further be developed for other neurodegenerative conditions.

The invention serves the need for portable (point-of-care) devices, so the testing can be done conveniently at the time and place of patient care, or field study.


Patent Status

Published US 2021/0190720 A1

Contact for more information:

Keren-Or Amar
VP, Business Development, Healthcare