Over the past several weeks, The Cancer Letter has been running a series of articles that report on a past conflict between people at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Nobel Laureate Al Gilman, who led the scientific review teams of the then newly formed Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
At the time of the controversy, I was the founding provost and executive vice president at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, a position I enjoyed greatly. While I have no desire to revisit this brief, and somewhat painful episode in my academic career, I have been written into Goldberg’s Texas drama as an important bit player and therefore feel compelled to go on record and provide my view of the story.
First and foremost, I was thrilled to be involved in the early days of CPRIT when the agency was finding its sea legs in terms of funding cancer research that would have a transformational impact. Our president at the time, John Mendelsohn, wanted MD Anderson to compete well for the CPRIT funds and use those funds to advance the cause against cancer. I introduced myself to Al Gilman shortly after he was appointed and let him know that I would take the lead in organizing the CPRIT applications from MD Anderson and offered to do anything I could to help him in the process.