The concept of organ regeneration has fascinated humanity from ancient mythology to modern science fiction. Recent advances offer the potential to soon bring such technology within the grasp of clinical medicine. Rapidly expanding insights into the intrinsic repair processes of the intestine and liver have uncovered significant plasticity in epithelial tissues. Harnessing this knowledge, researchers have recently created culture systems that enable the expansion of stem cells into transplantable tissue in vitro. Here we discuss how the growing tool set of stem cell biology can bring organ repair from fictitious narrative to medical practice.