The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Santa Monica has awarded $8 million to physician researchers delving into potential cures for advanced prostate cancer, the nonprofit agency said Tuesday.

The foundation announced it had awarded $1 million in grants to eight research teams across the nation. They joined 14 research groups that applied last year to receive a total $27.8 million in 2017 PCF Challenge Award grants.

“We are highly optimistic that the research performed by these teams will lead to significant advances in precision medicine treatment for prostate cancer, and improve and extend the lives of men with advanced disease,” said Dr. Jonathan W. Simons, chief executive of the foundation, in a statement.

Of the eight teams awarded, he said six are investigating novel precision drug discovery for advanced cancers and two are accelerating treatment science in precision diagnosis and imaging of prostate cancer.

Among the researchers is a joint team from two Los Angeles County medical centers developing an immunotherapy for lethal neuroendocrine prostate cancer. The CAR-T therapy research team includes Drs. Owen Witte and John Lee of UCLA, and Drs. Stephen Forman and Saul Priceman of City of Hope.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation, founded in 1993, has raised more than $740 million to fund more than 2,000 research programs at nearly 200 universities and cancer centers in 19 countries.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.

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