Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing at the rate of 6-8% per annum in the US alone. At present, dialysis and transplantation remain the only treatment options. However, there is hope that stem cells and regenerative medicine may provide additional regenerative options for kidney disease. Such new treatments might involve induction of repair using endogenous or exogenous stem cells or the reprogramming of the organ to reinitiate development. This review addresses the current state of understanding with respect to the ability of non-renal stem cell sources to influence renal repair, the existence of endogenous renal stem cells and the biology of normal renal repair in response to damage. It also examines the remaining challenges and asks the question of whether there is one solution for all forms of renal disease.