Because there are two very different types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, there cannot be said that there is a universal diabetes cure. Type 2 diabetes can be cured or at least dramatically improved with significant lifestyle changes, but currently there is no cure for type 1 diabetes that is available to the public.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when a person's body becomes resistant to the insulin it produces. Although these people typically have more insulin in their bodies than would normally be needed, their bodies cannot use it efficiently in order to process sugars as energy. This condition is typically treated with drugs to resensitize the body to its own insulin.
However, because insulin resistance is often related to lifestyle factors such as obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise, type 2 diabetes can be controlled or even completely reversed if the diabetic is willing to change their lifestyle. Losing weight, adhering to a more healthful diet, and exercising regularly act as an important potential diabetes cure for type 2 diabetes if the changes are followed conscientiously.
Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is a condition where the person's insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, or islet cells, have been destroyed, making it impossible for the diabetic to make their own insulin. The body's own immune system destroys these cells, in what is known as an autoimmune response. The trigger for this autoimmune response is not known, but the predisposition to having it happen is genetic — in other words, for a person who has the genetic predisposition, it is a question of when, and not if, they will become diabetic.
Because of this autoimmune response, a pancreas transplant is not a permanent diabetes cure. Currently, researchers are studying methods of transplanting islet cells into diabetics via the bloodstream, but these studies show that eventually the transplanted islet cells are destroyed and the person becomes insulin-dependent again. Although medications can suppress the immune system and prevent this from happening, islet cell transplants do not really constitute a diabetes cure by themselves. In studies that have been done on islet cell transplants, even with medication less than a quarter of transplants lasted for more than three years.
Before a complete and permanent type 1 diabetes cure can be realized, doctors will need to be able to stop the autoimmune response. Researchers are currently working on vaccines to stop the autoimmune response, but so far nothing has been made available to the public.