| Various therapeutic advances have led to a paradigm shift in the clinical management of patients with IBD. The introduction of immunosuppressive (such as azathioprine) and biologic agents (such as TNF blockers) has markedly reduced the need to use corticosteroids for therapy. Furthermore, the α4β7 integrin blocker vedolizumab has been introduced for clinical IBD therapy. Moreover, various new inhibitors of cytokines (for example, IL-6-IL-6R and IL-12-IL-23 blockers or apremilast), modulators of cytokine signalling events (for example, JAK inhibitors or SMAD7 blocker), inhibitors of transcription factors (for example, GATA3 or RORγt) and new anti-adhesion and anti-T-cell-activation and migration strategies (for example, β7 integrin, sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors and MAdCAM1 inhibitors, regulatory T-cell therapy and stem cells) are currently being evaluated in controlled clinical trials. This Review aims to provide a comprehensive overview about current and future therapeutic approaches for IBD therapy. Furthermore, potential mechanisms of action of these therapeutic approaches and their implications for clinical therapy in IBD are discussed.