Inflammation is a beneficial host response to challenge by foreign bodies or to tissue injury. When this normal physiological process ( which is designed to restore normal tissue structure and function), becomes dysregulated, it can become harmful and destructive leading to inflammatory diseases that are a major burden on humanity. Despite some notable successes, there are still major unmet medical needs in the treatment of inflammatory diseases and the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs features prominently in the research portfolios of most pharmaceutical and biotech companies. New insights into inflammatory processes and new anti-inflammatory drug targets were the subjects of a Focus Topic organized for the Life Sciences 2007 meeting in Glasgow ( July 2007). The speakers from this meeting were invited to generate reviews on the basis of their presentations and these reviews contribute to this themed issue and are summarized in this short article.