Many cytokines exert their effect via the JAK/STAT signal transduction pathway. Due to the medical relevance of many of these cytokines, they are being exploited, either directly, or through antagonists, as therapeutics for a variety of serious diseases. Currently, these therapeutics consist almost entirely of protein products, with all of their attendant drawbacks. Delineation of the signaling mechanisms for the cytokines, however, has allowed the design and implementation of a variety of cell-based and biochemical screens for small molecule mimics or antagonists of these cytokines. Several successful assays will be described along with the advantages of each type of assay. Use of assays of this type should make it possible to discover numerous small molecule cytokine modulators with significant utility in the clinic. Oncogene (2000).