Inappropriate cell recruitment is a hallmark of all autoimmune, allergic and inflammatory diseases. The prevention of inflammation by interfering with cellular recruitment through the neutralization of cytokines and adhesion molecules has proven to be successful in the clinic. Chemokines are important potential targets owing to their central role in the cell recruitment process. Chemokines are unique among cytokines because they signal through seven transmembrane receptors, thus enabling the identification of small molecule inhibitors through high throughput screening. The object of this Review is to discuss the validity and feasibility of targeting several points of therapeutic intervention offered by the chemokine system and to assess the state of play within the field to date.