at San Francisco, California and other locations
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Helen Kim, PhD
Headshot of Helen Kim
Helen Kim



Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are clusters of abnormal blood vessels in the brain and spine. CCMs can bleed and cause strokes, seizures, and headaches. CCMs are often caused by an inherited gene mutation (alteration) in one of three CCM genes (CCM1, CCM2, or CCM3). There is a wide range of disease severity even among family members with this disease, though the natural history has not been clearly described for this particular population.

This study will continue to enroll and follow participants with familial CCM to identify factors that influence CCM disease severity and progression, focusing on barriers to clinical trial preparedness. Our long-term goal is to identify measurable outcomes and robust biomarkers that will help select high-risk patients and help monitor drug response in future clinical trials.

The specific goals of this study are to:

  • Identify factors that influence lesion progression to symptomatic hemorrhage and other outcomes, including quality of life;
  • Investigate the role of the gut microbiome and lesion burden in CCM disease, and
  • Identify blood biomarkers predictive of CCM disease severity and progression for clinical trials.

Official Title

Modifiers of Disease Severity and Progression in Cerebral Cavernous Malformations


This study is one of three projects participating in the Brain Vascular Malformation Consortium (BVMC) funded by the Office of Rare Diseases Research, which is part of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

The CCM project is a cross-sectional and longitudinal study of familial CCM patients. The study is currently in the third 5-year cycle. During the first 5 year cycle (BVMC1), the CCM project was focused on recruiting CCM1 cases with the common Hispanic mutation (CHM). In the second 5-year cycle (BVMC2), we expanded recruitment to include not only CCM1-CHM cases, but also other CCM familial patients and mutation carriers. In the third 5-year cycle (BVMC3), we will continue to recruit familial CCM cases and expand to additional recruitment sites.

We collect clinical, genetic, imaging, treatment, and outcome data in participants, and follow enrolled participants over time to understand the natural history of this disease.

For new study participants, you will be asked to:

  • Give permission for study staff to access your medical records to collect clinical information and to obtain copies of MRI scans and reports.
  • Fill out a questionnaire about your quality of life, family history, and medical/surgical history.
  • Give a blood and/or saliva sample, and stool sample.
  • Give permission to store and use your CCM resected tissue for research (if undergoing surgery).
  • Participate in annual follow-ups to update medical, surgical, and neurological information.

Eligible cases include those with a known genetic mutation in one of the three CCM genes or those that meet 2 of 3 following clinical criteria:

  1. Clinical diagnosis of CCM,
  2. Multi-focal lesions on MRI, and/or
  3. Family history of CCMs.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Patients who cannot or are unwilling to sign informed consent and for whom no appropriate surrogate is available.
  2. Prisoners and homeless individuals because of the inability to contact the subject and collect follow-up data using standard procedures.


Cavernous Angioma, Familial, Cerebral Cavernous Malformations, Cerebral Cavernous Hemangioma, Hemangioma, Hemangioma, Cavernous, Central Nervous System, Cavernous Hemangioma, Congenital Abnormalities


You can join if…

  • Individual has a CCM mutation confirmed through DNA testing, or
  • Individual meets 2 or more of the following clinical criteria:
    1. Clinical diagnosis of CCM
    2. Multi-focal CCMs on MRI
    3. Family history of CCM

You CAN'T join if...

  1. Individuals who are incarcerated
  2. Individuals who are homeless
  3. Unable or unwilling to sign the informed consent


  • UCSF accepting new patients
    San Francisco California 94143 United States
  • Barrow Neurological Institute accepting new patients
    Phoenix Arizona 85013 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSF

  • Helen Kim, PhD
    My research focuses on identifying risk factors that predispose younger individuals to stroke and cardiovascular disease. Currently, my group is studying the genetic epidemiology of hemorrhagic stroke and modifiers of outcome after hemorrhage or treatment in patients with brain vascular malformations.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Angioma Alliance is an organization by and for those affected by cavernous angiomas and their loved ones, health professionals, and researchers.
Study Type
Observational [Patient Registry]
Expecting 800 study participants
Last Updated