By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We know that proper diet and regular exercise can help in the battle against heart disease. But there is growing evidence that heart attacks and stroke can also be influenced by inflammatory pathways in the body.

One of the newest areas of research in medicine is the use of anti-inflammatory medications with one simple goal in mind — that goal is to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A medication called canakinumab is being studied with this in mind.

According to the early research, this human monoclonal antibody can actually target inflammatory pathways in the body.

The goal of this is to try and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.

The problem with this approach is that there are side effects to this medication and others like it which make it not worth using in this manner.

But the bottom line is, this type of approach may actually have benefit as we come up with safer medications.