Neural stem and progenitor cells have great potential for the treatment of neurological disorders. However, many obstacles remain to translate this field to the patient’s bedside, including rationales for using neural stem cells in individual neurological disorders; the challenges of neural stem cell biology; and the caveats of current strategies of isolation and culturing neural precursors. Addressing these challenges is critical for the translation of neural stem cell biology to the clinic. Recent work using neural stem cells has yielded novel biologic concepts such as the importance of the reciprocal interaction between neural stem cells and the neurodegenerative environment. The prospect of using transplants of neural stem cells and progenitors to treat neurological diseases requires a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of both neural stem cell behavior in experimental models and the intrinsic repair capacity of the injured brain.