Over the past decade, knowledge of the pathogenesis and natural history of type 1 diabetes has grown substantially, particularly with regard to disease prediction and heterogeneity, pancreatic pathology, and epidemiology. Technological improvements in insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors help patients with type 1 diabetes manage the challenge of lifelong insulin administration. Agents that show promise for averting debilitating disease-associated complications have also been identified. However, despite broad organisational, intellectual, and fiscal investments, no means for preventing or curing type 1 diabetes exists, and, globally, the quality of diabetes management remains uneven. This Seminar discusses current progress in epidemiology, pathology, diagnosis, and treatment of type 1 diabetes, and prospects for an improved future for individuals with this disease.