“Persistence of Diabetes” – Why Has Research into Type 1 Diabetes not Made Significant Advances?

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The Review of Diabetic Studies,2006,3,4,156-160.
Published:February 2007
Author(s) affiliations:

Charles Sia1 and Michael Weinem2

1Vaccine Center, National Health Research Institutes, 35 Keyan Road, Zhunan Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan.

2Society for Biomedical Diabetes Research, 47057 Duisburg, Germany.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) constitutes a heterogeneous group of diseases. The two major forms of the disorder can be classified according to insulin dependence, or independence. Insulin-dependent DM, also known as type 1 (T1DM), is a chronic condition manifested by the lack of functional pancreatic islet β-cells which results in failure to produce natural insulin within the body. Without the control mechanism provided by insulin, the body’s blood glucose level cannot be maintained within a physiologically acceptable range. Insulin-independent DM, or type 2 DM (T2DM), is also a chronic condition. It is caused either by insufficient production of insulin by the pancreatic islets, or by the failure of body tissues to process the hormone. T1DM is the more acute form of the condition and affects approximately 10.0% of all diabetic cases worldwide. As noted above, it is manifested by the lack of insulin-secreting β-cells as a result of their destruction by diabetogenic T cells. T2DM is different in origin, but is also strongly associated with obesity. Despite the different causes of the two forms of diabetes, the outcome is largely the same in both, namely the emergence of hyperglycemia and the potential to cause metabolic disturbances which damage other body systems including nerves and blood vessels. Read more...