To analyze the neuroprotective effect of intravitreally grafted neural stem (NS) cells genetically modified to secrete ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) on intraorbitally lesioned retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in adult mice. Adherently cultivated NS cells were genetically modified to express a secretable variant of mouse CNTF together with the fluorescent reporter protein Venus. Clonal CNTF-secreting NS cell lines were established using fluorescence activated cell sorting, and intravitreally grafted into adult mice 1 day after an intraorbital crush of the optic nerve. Brn-3a-positive RGCs were counted in flat-mounted retinas at different postlesion intervals to evaluate the neuroprotective effect of the CNTF-secreting NS cells on the axotomized RGCs. Anterograde axonal tracing experiments were performed to analyze the regrowth of the injured RGC axons in CNTF-treated retinas. Intravitreally grafted NS cells preferentially differentiated into astrocytes that survived in the host eyes, stably expressed CNTF, and significantly attenuated the loss of the axotomized RGCs over a period of at least 4 months, the latest postlesion time point analyzed. Depending on the postlesion interval analyzed, the number of RGCs in eyes with grafted CNTF-secreting NS cells was 2.8-fold to 6.4-fold higher than in eyes with grafted control NS cells. The CNTF-secreting NS cells additionally induced long-distance regrowth of the lesioned RGC axons. Genetically modified clonal NS cell lines may serve as a useful tool for preclinical studies aimed at evaluating the therapeutic potential of a sustained cell-based intravitreal administration of neuroprotective factors in mouse models of glaucoma.