By Robert Bazell, NBC News chief science correspondent
Type 1 diabetes -- a condition afflicting Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sottomayor and a million other Americans -- was once called Juvenile diabetes because it can start in childhood. It differs from the far more common type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. In type 2 diabetes, cells become resistant to insulin, often because of obesity.
In either kind of diabetes, fluctuations in blood sugar levels can lead to nerve, eye, kidney and heart damage. But that need not occur if the sugar level is properly controlled. In our report, we talk of hope for a cure for type 1 from stem cells. The research we describe is being carried out at the University of Miami's Diabetes Research Institute. You can read more about that here: http://www.diabetesresearch.org/DiabetesResearchInstitute.htm
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (http://www.jdrf.org) also sponsors a great deal of research. The same is true for the American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/