Diabetes mellitus results when there is a decrease or loss in insulin production or action. Today more than ¼ of a billion people live with diabetes and current predictions estimate this number will double over the next 20 years; every 10 seconds, a person dies of diabetes related causes and two people develop the disease. Diabetes is a global epidemic, with devastating human, social and economic impact. In North America, it is estimated that life span is reduced by at least 15 years by diabetes, whereas in the developing world, life expectancy for someone with insulin-dependent diabetes is only 1 year. In many countries, health care budgets fail to provide the essential life saving care that diabetics need. In countries that do provide care, ballooning medical costs may soon overwhelm health care budgets. For example, in Canada we already spend 1 out of 8 health care dollars on diabetes care. Clearly funds and research are urgently required to reduce the impact of diabetes.