Most human diseases, including trauma, atherosclerosis, and malignancy, can be characterized by either an overexuberant inflammatory response or an inadequate immunologic response. As our understanding of the mechanisms underlying these inflammatory aberrations improves, so should our approach to the patient. The development of novel technologies capable of exploiting inflammatory mediators will undoubtedly play a role in future patient-directed therapies. Trauma surgeons are uniquely positioned to usher in a new era of patient diagnostics and patient-directed therapies based on an understanding of the immune system's response to stimuli. These improvements are likely to affect not only trauma care but all aspects of medicine.