Embolic stroke is thought to cause irreparable damage in the brain immediately adjacent to the region of reduced blood perfusion. Therefore, much of the current research focuses on treatments such as anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and cell replacement strategies to minimize behavioral and physiological consequences. In the present study, intravenous delivery of human umbilical cord blood cells (HUCBC) 48 h after a middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) in a rat resulted in both behavioral and physiological recovery. Nissl and TUNEL staining demonstrated that many of the neurons in the core were rescued, indicating that while both necrotic and apoptotic cell death occur in ischemia, it is clear that apoptosis plays a larger role than first anticipated. Further, immunohistochemical and histochemical analysis showed a diminished and/or lack of granulocyte and monocyte infiltration and astrocytic and microglial activation in the parenchyma in animals treated with HUCBC 48 h poststroke. Successful treatment at this time point should offer encouragement to clinicians that a therapy with a broader window of efficacy may soon be available to treat stroke.