Christian Marín, a doctor in molecular virology and microbiology, was awarded the Innovators of America 2018 prize in the category “Science and Technology“. This recognition, given by Innovamerica Inc., is granted to the most important innovation in Latin America, and it is the first time this award is granted to a Costa Rican.

Cristian Marín and all of his Speratum team

Marín was awarded for his work as leader of a team of researchers that develops Speratum, a therapy against pancreatic cancer, which combines biotechnology and nanotechnology. “Our goal is to design a novel therapy against pancreatic cancer, one of the most aggressive known and with the highest incidence of deaths. It is a disease that shows no symptoms until it is very advanced. More than 94% of the patients diagnosed will lose their fight in less than 5 years”, explained Marín.

Marin added that the starting point of his research was the discovery he made while doing his doctorate studies at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. There, he found a molecule called miR-198, which has the ability to regulate the expression of other genes through various processes.

Marín’s proposal seeks effectiveness without the collateral damages produced by other treatments. This research is carried out at the CENIBiot and LANOTEC laboratories, both belonging to the National High Technology Center (CeNAT-CONARE).

The project of this Costa Rican and his team was selected from among 122 applications from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

This scientist is betting that, by 2020, they can launch the first trial with patients and, thus, continue to break down barriers in science from Costa Rica.