Neural stem cells, cells which have the ability to self-renew and to differentiate into three neural lineages, hold great
potential for many applications in biomedical research, cellular therapy and drug discovery. However, the use of neural stem
cells for these applications has been hampered by the lack of availability of stable, pure cell lines. In this review we describe
the recent generation of homogenous, pluripotent, stable mouse and human neural stem (NS) cell lines. These cell lines, which
can be generated from both foetal and adult tissue and ES cells, possess many attributes which make them amenable to use in
the biopharmaceutical industry, such as ease of scale-up, purity and a stable phenotype over extended passage. These characteristics
are discussed, along with the technical, safety and ethical issues associated with the use of NS cells in therapeutic and
drug discovery applications.