Diabetes is a disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose). Nearly half of all California adults have prediabetes or diabetes.

Read more below about how stem cell research is helping in the fight against diabetes.


  • Diabetes can be divided into two main types — Type 1 and Type 2:
    • Type 1 Diabetes (T1D): An autoimmune disease where the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. T1D has a genetic component that can be diagnosed both early in life and in adulthood. There is currently no cure for T1D, but patients rely on injected or pumped insulin to survive. Without insulin, the cells starve, and sugar builds up in the bloodstream, causing damage to the kidneys, blood vessels and retina.
    • Type 2 Diabetes (T2D): A metabolic disorder often diagnosed later in life and can be due to either genetic predisposition and/or lifestyle habits. T2D patients can produce insulin, but their bodies are unable to use it effectively. T2D can be typically managed with diet and exercise or medication, but more serious cases may require insulin therapy.

How Stem Cells Can be Used to Treat Type 1 Diabetes

  • Stem cells can either replace the lost beta cells or protect the existing cells from dying.
  • Alternatively, stem cells could serve as a source for insulin production.
  • Lastly, stem cells could modulate the immune system and decrease immune attack of pancreatic cells.

CIRM’s Progress: Selected Research Highlights

Diabetes Organizations Endorsing YES on Prop 14

To see the full list of over 80 patient advocate organizations that endorse YES on Prop 14, please click here.