By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The potential powers of ibuprofen. The commonly used pain reliever may be able to help millions of Americans with a deadly condition that right now, has no treatment.

3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on how one local hospital is testing to see if the medication can save lives.

Terry Symington depends on her oxygen tank. The 69-year-old from Gloucester City, New Jersey has been battling emphysema for more than 10 years.

“I struggle with almost everything, like cleaning. I can do a little bit, but then I have to sit down,” said Terry.

For emphysema patients like Terry, being breathless is an everyday struggle. But Dr. Gerard Criner, Director of the Temple Lung Center, is trying to change that with the help of the pain reliever ibuprofen. Doctors believe it may be able to decrease inflammation in the lungs associated with emphysema.

“We’re looking to suppress that level so cells that would normally repair the lung would come in to the lung and hopefully, help to repair that,” said Dr. Criner.

Emphysema lung damage has long been thought to be irreversible, but if ibuprofen is successful in this phase two trial at Temple, it could potentially change the course of treatment for millions of Americans.

“If this does show benefits this would be a way of reconstituting — or at least stemming — the progression of emphysema in patients,” said Dr. Criner.

For Terry, she’s hopeful ibuprofen could someday bring her relief.

“I would try it, hope that I would get a few more good years in. Instead of sitting watching TV hoping somebody could take me to the store,” said Terry.

Temple is currently looking for people with emphysema to participate in the trial. If interested, you can contact Temple’s administrative specialist Taylor Kenney at 215-707-8113.

For more on the emphysema ibuprofen trial, click here.

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