But let's look at what is happening to offer some hope.
A diabetes cure would be terrific.
In the Western World, almost 20% of the population already have diabetes, and as countries in the rest of the world adopt a Western lifestyle, the same is beginning to be seen all over, with India and China seeing an enormous rise in diabetes cases.
In Type 1, where the insulin making cells in the pancreas are destroyed, it might seem that a cure would be impossible.
However this is not the case and there are a number of possibilities being studied at the moment which might offer a real cure.
There are also some experimental treatments being studied which stop the body's immune processes continuing to destroy the beta cells of the pancreas.
Of particular interest is treatment with the BCG vaccine, which is normally used for tuberculosis.
It has been suggested that the nerves supplying the pancreas may play some part in causing diabetes, and there is some evidence that treatments with drugs affecting these nerves can help the beta cells recover.
All these studies are in their very early stages, but they do offer some hope in the future.
With Type 2 diabetes, which makes up 95% of the total, there are also hopes.
There are two main approaches here, both of which have been shown to be effective in practice.
The first is simply cutting the amount of carbohydrate in the diet.
In the past many people were treated in this way, but nowadays the recommendations from the major diabetes associations is to eat a relatively high carbohydrate and low fat diet because of the fear of heart disease.
In fact, the evidence for this approach is rather poor, and the pendulum is beginning to swing back towards using diets with a much lower carbohydrate content.
Some people have claimed that if you reduce the carbohydrate intake enough, diabetes will simply go away in quite a lot of people.
The other main approach of interest is based on the theory that Type 2 diabetes may be precipitated by artificially processed fats called trans fats.
These do not occur naturally, but are used widely in food production.
There is evidence that these should be eliminated entirely from what we eat and replaced with natural fats and oils known as cis fats, mostly of the omega-3 group which you get in flax oil, hemp oil and fish oils.
A diabetes cure may not be around the corner, but certainly there are hopes that some or all of the approaches described above may help to reduce the damage caused by diabetes, which is rapidly becoming the commonest cause of death worldwide.