Several human organs are not capable of functional regeneration following a tissue defect and react with scar formation. In stem cell transplantation, undifferentiated or partly differentiated precursor cells are applied to defective tissue for therapeutic regeneration. After promising preclinical investigations, the transplantation of autologous stem cells for myocardial infarction treatment is being transferred to clinical use. Mesenchymal stem cells and endothelial precursor cells derived from the bone marrow or circulating blood as well as skeletal myoblasts are employed in clinical trials. Furthermore, indications for cell transplantation and delivery routes vary considerably throughout current investigations. Initial results suggest a potential for restoration of cardiac function in stem cell-treated patients; however, the mechanisms are not fully understood. This overview will focus on objectives, recent achievements, and future perspectives of diverse stem cell transplantation approaches. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.