Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y.
This hospital is one of the premier cancer centers in the world and is one of three hospitals involved in U.S. clinical trials assessing Antimicrobial Copper’s clinical efficacy.
This hospital is one of the premier cancer centers in the world
and is one of three hospitals involved in U.S. clinical trials
assessing Antimicrobial Copper's clinical efficacy. Antimicrobial
copper touch surfaces have been installed in the 20-bed Intensive
Care Unit. Installed surfaces include: over-bed tray table,
visitors' chair with Antimicrobial Copper arms, IV poles, and
As in the two other hospitals involved in the American clinical
trials - The Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.
and The Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center,
Charleston, S.C. - researchers in this institution have replaced
stainless steel, aluminum and plastic touch surfaces with
Antimicrobial Copper. The surfaces replaced are those that testing
has shown to be most heavily contaminated and, not surprisingly,
are in closest proximity to patients and visitors.
The trial leader at this site is Kent Sepkowitz, M.D., who is
the Director of Hospital Infection Control and Vice Chairman of
Clinical Affairs. He is a Fellow of the American College of
Physicians and a frequent contributor to professional journals.
The trials are being executed in three stages. The first stage
established the baseline microbial burden on frequently-touched
objects in ICU rooms. The second stage, which has just been
completed, compared the microbial burden on Antimicrobial Copper
surfaces with the microbes found on non-copper equivalent surfaces.
The third stage will begin soon and assess the incidence of
hospital-acquired infections in ICU rooms with and without
Antimicrobial Copper objects. The connection between contamination
on frequently-touched surfaces and patient acquisition of
infections will be evaluated to determine if Antimicrobial Copper
has a clinical benefit to patients.
Objects in Closest Proximity to Patients are Most Heavily
Findings from the first stage of the program show that the most
heavily contaminated objects are those in closest proximity to the
patients: bed rails, call buttons and chairs were found to have the
highest levels of Staphylococcus, methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant
enterococci (VRE). These pathogens can survive for
extended periods of time on such objects which may act as
reservoirs for the bacteria. The average microbial burden on
objects was nearly 17,000 Colony Forming Units per 100 square
To view the U.S. Clinical Trail Poster, please click here.
A Different Way of Confronting the Problem
According to Dr. Sepkowitz, "We need to look at all different
ways of confronting the problem [of hospital-acquired infections]."
He believes that copper surfaces may prove to be a "passive way of
helping control these organisms" and hopes that, if the trial
successfully shows a clinical impact, people will "see this as a
way to cut down on these [bacteria that cause] infections and adopt
it as part of the solution." Dr. Sepkowitz mentions that while
copper will not replace good hygiene practices, it may nevertheless
help to reduce environmental bacterial contamination possibly
causing hospital-acquired infection. (The Star Ledger,
August 28, 2007)