Over the last 60 years, more than a million patients received hematopoietic cell transplantation. Having incorporated multiple changes in clinical practices, it remains a complex procedure facing a dual challenge: cure of the underlying disease and prevention of relapse while controlling potentially severe complications. Improved understanding of underlying biological processes resulted in the design of innovative therapies engineered from defined cell populations and testing of these therapies as addition or substitution at virtually every step of the procedure. This review provides an overview of these developments, many of them now applied outside the historical field of hematopoietic cell transplantation. Copyright © 2018, American Association for the Advancement of Science.