The encyclopaedia, as it is being called, details how various cancer cells respond to different cancer treatments. It has been published in the journal Nature, and is being hailed as a step towards tailoring treatment towards every patient’s own genetic profile.
Cancer cells catalogued in the paper were all grown in a laboratory, an essential part of researching cures for cancer.
Research for the paper was headed up by a UK team of scientists based around Cambridge, and they were working with people from the US, Paris and Switzerland.
Together, they screened over 600 cancer cell lines with 130 different drugs, and recorded the effects in the new paper.
Dr Mathew Garnett, who worked on the project, told the BBC, "It's bringing together two very large and very powerful data sets and asking which cell line is the most sensitive and what is behind that sensitivity.
"This is the largest study of its kind linking drug response with genetic markers. You need these very large studies to identify small subsets of cells that are sensitive to drugs.”