The UCLA Specialized Program of Research Excellence, known as SPORE, has awarded $525,000 to 11 researchers whose projects are at the forefront of developing new therapies for men battling prostate cancer.

Three of the grants, called the “Career Enhancement Program” awards, are designed to support and attract new researchers to the study of prostate cancer. These grants are given both to early and established investigators. The grant recipients include Dr. Hans David Ulmert, Ajit Divakaruni and Chongyuan Luo.

Eight of the grants are called the “Developmental Research Program” awards and are given to new research projects aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. The researchers who have received these grants include Dr. Robert Reiter, Paul Boutros, Dr. John Wilson Phillips, Dino Di Carlo, Dr. Huihui Ye, Neil Lin, Dr. Minna Lee and William Hsu.

“We are grateful to the National Cancer Institute and to UCLA’s donors for providing the funding for these research grants,” said Reiter, who is co-director of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center’s genitourinary oncology program. “The researchers receiving these grants have a promising future in prostate cancer research or are working on projects that have the potential to become major developments that will lead to the next generation of therapies for prostate cancer.”

Last October, UCLA’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence program in prostate cancer received an $8.7 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute. The grant supports the development of new and innovative approaches for improving the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of prostate cancer. The NCI award also indicates that UCLA’s prostate cancer research program is one of the best in the country. UCLA has the only program funded with this award in California.

The researchers’ affiliations at UCLA include the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Samueli School of Engineering.