Human type 1 diabetes (T1D) is considered to be an autoimmune disease, with CD8+ T-cell-mediated cytotoxicity being directed against the insulin-producing beta cells, leading to a gradual decrease in beta cell mass and the development of chronic hyperglycemia. The histopathologically defining lesion in recent-onset T1D patients is insulitis, a relatively subtle leucocytic infiltration present in approximately 10% of the islets of Langerhans from children with recent-onset (<1 year) disease. Due to the transient nature of the infiltrate, its heterogeneous distribution in the pancreas and the nature of the patient population, material for research is extremely rare and limited to a cumulative total of approximately 150 cases collected over the past century. Most studies on the etiopathogenesis of T1D have therefore focused on the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model, which shares many genetic and immunological disease characteristics with human T1D, although its islet histopathology is remarkably different. In view of these differences and in view of the limited success of clinical immune interventions based on observations in the NOD mouse, there is a renewed focus on studying the pathogenetic process in patient material.