The first volume of a "book of cancer knowledge" has been published, which scientists say will speed up the search for new cancer drugs.
The "encyclopaedia" details how hundreds of different cancer cells respond to anti-cancer agents.
UK, US and European researchers say the data, published in Nature, is a step towards tailoring cancer medicine to a patient's genetic profile.
A cancer charity said the work would help in testing new cancer drugs.
Cancer cells grown in the laboratory are an essential tool in cancer research.
Hundreds of different cell lines exist, allowing scientists to study the effect of new cancer drugs on the human body.
Now, a team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge and various cancer institutes around the world have released two papers cataloguing data on hundreds of cancer cell lines.
The UK team, working with colleagues in the US, Paris and Switzerland, screened more than 600 cancer cell lines with 130 drugs, identifying genetic signatures linked with drug sensitivity.
Already clues are emerging that could be of benefit to patients, including the discovery that a rare bone cancer in children (Ewing's sarcoma) appears to be vulnerable to certain drugs.
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