Cell-based therapy could aid in alleviating symptoms or even reversing the progression of neurodegenerative diseases and nerve injuries. Fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1) has been shown to maintain the survival of neurons and induce neurite outgrowth. Accumulating evidence suggests that combination of FGF1 and cell-based therapy is promising for future therapeutic application. Neural stem cells (NSCs), with the characteristics of self-renewal and multipotency, can be isolated from embryonic stem cells, embryonic ectoderm, and developing or adult brain tissues. For NSC clinical application, several critical problems remain to be resolved: (1) the source of NSCs should be personalized; (2) the isolation methods and protocols of human NSCs should be standardized; (3) the clinical efficacy of NSC transplants must be evaluated in more adequate animal models; and (4) the mechanism of intrinsic brain repair needs to be better characterized. In addition, the ideal imaging technique for tracking NSCs would be safe and yield high temporal and spatial resolution, good sensitivity and specificity. Here, we discuss recent progress and future development of cell-based therapy, such as NSCs, induced pluripotent stem cells, and induced neurons, in neurodegenerative diseases and peripheral nerve injuries.