Stroke is a common and disabling condition that represents a potentially attractive target for regenerative therapy. Stem cells from a wide range of origins have been investigated in studies using animal models of stroke, with evidence that neural or mesenchymal cells migrate to the site of ischemic injury after intravascular or intraparenchymal delivery, and that a proportion of cells survive and differentiate into cells with characteristics of neurons or glia. In some studies there is evidence of electrical function of transplanted cells. Some studies report improvements in neurological function with cell implantation even when undertaken up to 30 days after the stroke is induced. Few clinical trials have been undertaken to date, with two studies of a teratocarcinoma-derived cell line delivered by direct brain injection, and two of bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells delivered intravascularly. Ongoing trials of other cell lines are exploring safety. There are considerable difficulties in designing future efficacy trials, some being generic to the field of regenerative treatment in stroke, and some that are specific to stem cells or their mode of delivery.