Many researchers are trying to find ways to look at the cells of a person with diabetes.

Researchers are trying to figure out how and why diabetes develops by looking at the cells and molecules in people with diabetes to determine what changes and why. They are also looking at how the complications of diabetes happen, in hopes of finding ways to prevent, delay, or control the development of diabetes and diabetes-related complications.

Beta cells are a type of cell found in the pancreas in areas called ‘islets’. Beta cells make and release insulin, a hormone which controls the levels of glucose in your bloodstream.

Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in children and adolescents, is a disease in which the body’s defense system attacks insulin-making beta cells by mistake, (known as ‘autoimmunity’). Although the cause of type 1 diabetes remains unknown, it is not preventable and it is not caused by eating too much sugar. Approximately 10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your beta cells do not produce enough insulin or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes. If you have type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy. Maintaining healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle, and taking medication, if necessary, will help you keep your blood glucose levels within their target range. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood, although increasing numbers of children in high-risk populations are being diagnosed.