Gilman’s resignation enabled him to retain the most precious of all privileges: the ability to look at himself in the mirror.
By slamming the door loudly and publicly—and by triggering an impossible-to-ignore resignations of scientists who conducted peer review at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas—he made it clear that the institute’s scientific review was in danger of being subverted, and that its funds were at risk of being raided by politicians.
“I built something I am proud of, and now it’s being taken apart,” Gilman said to me at the time. “I can’t work for people who are pushing their own interests at the expense of the interests of cancer patients.
“A wise and experienced friend said to me: ‘This is always the way it works when you put a large amount of public money on the table. The vultures and the hyenas lie low for two or three years to see how the system really works. And then they come in for their feast.’”