Diabetes mellitus is a lifelong, incapacitating disease affecting multiple organs. Worldwide prevalence figures estimate that there will be 380 million diabetic patients in 2025. Presently, diabetes can neither be prevented nor cured and the disease is associated with devastating chronic complications including coronary heart disease and stroke (macrovascular disease) as well as microvascular disorders leading to damage of the small blood vessels of the kidney (nephropathy), eye (retinopathy) and peripheral nerves (neuropathy). These complications impose an immense burden on the quality of life of the patients and account for more than 10% of health care costs in Europe. Therefore, novel means to prevent these devastating diabetic complications are needed.