Drug Discovery for Inflammatory Diseases was a 3-day conference organised by the IBC Life Sciences as part of their Drug Discovery Series. The meeting featured a keynote presentation by Edward Keystone (University of Toronto) on the new strategies in managing rheumatoid arthritis, followed by five themed sessions: protein kinase inhibition, cytokines, chemokines, Toll-like receptors/innate immunity and transcription factors. The programme included a good mix of speakers from academia and biotechnology, and covered a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from developing strategies to suppress immune responses in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, to novel means of stimulating the immune system for vaccine development and cancer therapy. Fundamental basic science questions were addressed along with the new approaches to drug design and clinical studies. Overall, the meeting included over 25 presentations, and there was ample time to exchange ideas in an informal setting. This review will focus on five talks representing three different areas of research: the role of an unusual cytokine, leptin, in autoimmunity; targeting of Toll-like receptors in vaccine development and in cancer therapy; and the molecular dissection of glucocorticoid-mediated repression and of selective glucocorticoids with anti-inflammatory activities.