Cellular and gene therapies offer considerable promise as new treatment modalities. The Food and Drug Administration has been developing strategies to regulate these rapidly evolving fields in a manner that sustains progress and also ensures minimization of potential risks. The death of a patient on a gene therapy study highlighted a number of potential problems that have galvanized the agency to examine their strategy and to review current regulations for gene therapy. Meanwhile, a unified regulatory approach is emerging for cell-based therapies. This stratifies the level of regulation based upon the potential risk to the donor of the cells and the recipient. In this article the history and status of regulation of cellular therapy is briefly reviewed.