There is a continuing need for development of new treatments for lung disease.Basic scientific investigations are identifying novel targets for the development of new approaches to therapy of a range of respiratory conditions. Coupled with the advances in technology being harnessed by the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, there is now an impressive range of potential treatments including gene therapy, not just for cystic fibrosis but also for a range of inflammatory lung conditions, anti-cytokine and anti-adhesion molecule approaches, and targeting of intracellular signal transduction pathways including cyclic AMP metabolism, tyrosine kinases and MAP kinases. "Old" molecules such as heparin and secretory leukoprotease inhibitor (SLPI) are demonstrating new beneficial activities. Simple molecules such as nitric oxide (NO) gas may be involved in the pathophysiology of different airway conditions. It is an exciting time for respiratory science and a time for optimism for those seeking new approaches to the treatment of lung diseases.