Thanks to Peter Nerothin and Kerri Morrone Sparling for the tip-off. An article published in the December 2, 2008 PNAS journal (with early release today) showed that 2 leukemia drugs--imatinib (Gleevec) and sunitinib (Sutent)--had potent effects in preventing and reversing new-onset diabetes in NOD mice. Of course it hasn't been shown to work in people yet, but this does seem like a very exciting development, in particular because Gleevec and Sutent are already FDA-approved drugs. Another exciting finding was that one course of treatment (albeit a 10-week course) had long-lasting effects, suggesting that the drugs had a modulatory effect on the immune system--not just a more temporary, suppressive one.
I went to an informative talk today on the cell/molecular biology of diabetes and routes to a cure, given by Jeff Bluestone and Steve Gitelman of UCSF. I missed the first part of it so perhaps they discussed it then, but it seems like perhaps they didn't want to spill the beans. Dr. Bluestone was quoted in related news stories and is one of the main authors.
I am optimistic about the state of research, but will make sure to keep stocked up on insulin and test strips for the foreseeable future.